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The Walking Wounded: Emerging Treatments for PTSD


Purpose of Review

We review the published literature over the last 24 months in the treatment of PTSD for our military men and women. We examined the updated clinical practice guidelines published in June 2017 by the Veteran’s administration and Department of Defense and contrasted the guidelines with the most recent literature. We also discuss new directions in PTSD research.

Recent Findings

Psychotherapy remains one of the most effective treatments for PTSD; unfortunately, few participants remain in treatment to completion. Many of the emerging therapies target NMDA receptor antagonists, cannabinoid receptor modulators, glucocorticoid receptor agonists, non-SSRI antidepressants, and opioid receptor agonists. The newer therapies fall into the drug classes of anti-hypertensives, glutamate modulators, oxytocin, and medication targeting insomnia/hyperarousal.


PTSD symptoms are often chronic in our veteran population. While current treatments are helpful, there are often significant residual symptoms. We reviewed the most recent improvements in treatment and discuss therapies that are in the research phase.

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Fig. 1


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Correspondence to James Rachal.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Military Mental Health

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Bestha, D., Soliman, L., Blankenship, K. et al. The Walking Wounded: Emerging Treatments for PTSD. Curr Psychiatry Rep 20, 94 (2018).

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  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Psychotherapy
  • Emerging pharmacotherapy
  • Glutamate modulators
  • Neuroactive steroids
  • Somatic therapies