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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Hyperarousal Symptoms Treated With Physiological Stress Management (BaRT)

This study has been completed.
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Department of Veterans Affairs
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
NCT00855816
First received: March 3, 2009
Last updated: October 14, 2014
Last verified: October 2014
  Purpose

Hyperarousal is a key symptom of PTSD. Even after receiving trauma-focused therapy, PTSD patients may continue to suffer from hyperarousal. Our main objectives are to measure hyperarousal in VA outpatients with PTSD related to combat experience in the last 10 years and to test the efficacy of physiological relaxation training in reducing this hyperarousal. Measurements will be both physiological, using 24 hour ambulatory monitoring of skin conductance, heart rate, and physical activity during waking and sleeping, and psychological, using self-reports and clinician interviews. Specific aims include initially evaluating 100 or more PTSD patients for the severity of their hyperarousal symptoms. Of these, 50 with at least moderate hyperarousal who either have participated in a trauma-focused therapy or have declined to participate in such a therapy will be recruited for a therapy trial. Volunteers will be randomized to treatment consisting of 5 sessions of individual physiological relaxation training with biofeedback over a 4-week period or to a 2-month waiting period after which they also may receive this therapy. Physiological evaluations of the patients' ability to relax will be measured at three times -before treatment, immediately after treatment, and 6 months after treatment. Clinical evaluations by interviews and questionnaires on measures of symptoms and disability will be measured at four times - before treatment, immediately after treatment, 1 month after treatment, and 6 months after treatment. The waiting-list group and a nonanxious control group will be tested psychophysiologically twice at the same interval as the patients before and immediately after treatment. A control group will allow us to calibrate our measures in the setting in which they are being applied. We hypothesize that this therapy will relieve both self-reported and objective, physiological symptoms of hyperarousal.

Relevance to health and the VA mission: Many of our clients at the VA Palo Alto Mental Health Outpatient Services for PTSD are veterans of Iraq, who need help with hyperarousal symptoms. This study will fill in gaps in our knowledge about the physiology of these symptoms and about the efficacy of relaxation therapies. Non-pharmacological treatments like the ones that we propose may relieve patients' hyperarousal to an extent that they are less tempted to turn to alcohol or sedative drugs.


Condition Intervention Phase
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
Behavioral: Breathing training
Phase 2
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Diagnostic
Official Title: PTSD Hyperarousal Symptoms Treated With Physiological Stress Management

Resource links provided by NLM:


Further study details as provided by Department of Veterans Affairs:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Change Scores for Criteria D Items on the CAPS Structured Clinical Interview [ Time Frame: Baseline and 8 weeks ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

    Change in total score for all criterion D items on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV, from baseline to post-treatment.

    Total Criterion D subscore = sum of all frequency (0-4) and intensity (0-4) ratings of 5 PTSD hyperarousal symptoms.

    Range: 0 to 40, with higher scores indicating more severe (frequent and/or intense) symptoms.

    Change score calculated as: CAPS D score time 2 - CAPS D score time 1. Greater negative change scores indicate greater reduction in symptom severity (aka symptom improvement).



Enrollment: 80
Study Start Date: February 2010
Study Completion Date: July 2013
Primary Completion Date: June 2013 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Breathing training
relaxation training
Behavioral: Breathing training
relaxation training
No Intervention: Treatment as usual
treatment as usual

Detailed Description:

Hyperarousal is a key symptom of PTSD. Even after receiving trauma-focused therapy, PTSD patients may continue to suffer from hyperarousal. Neuroimaging findings in PTSD support the idea that regulation of autonomic arousal from the cingulate cortex can be helpful in reducing anxiety.

Our main objectives are to measure hyperarousal in VA outpatients with PTSD related to combat experience in the last 10 years and to test the efficacy of physiological relaxation training in reducing this hyperarousal. Measurements will be both physiological, using 24 hour ambulatory monitoring of skin conductance, heart rate, and physical activity during waking and sleeping, and psychological, using self-reports and clinician interviews. Specific aims include initially evaluating 100 or more PTSD patients for the severity of their hyperarousal symptoms. Of these, 50 with at least moderate hyperarousal who either have participated in a trauma-focused therapy or have declined to participate in such a therapy will be recruited for a therapy trial. Volunteers will be randomized to treatment consisting of 5 sessions of individual physiological relaxation training with electromyographic feedback and with capnographic feedback over a 4-week period or to a 2-month waiting period after which they also may receive this therapy. Physiological evaluations of the patients' ability to relax while sitting quietly and their arousal levels during daily activities and sleep will be measured at three times -before treatment, immediately after treatment, and 6 months after treatment. Clinical evaluations by interviews and questionnaires on measures of symptoms and disability will be measured at four times - before treatment, immediately after treatment, 1 month after treatment, and 6 months after treatment. The waiting-list group and a nonanxious control group will be tested psychophysiologically twice at the same interval as the patients before and immediately after treatment. A control group will allow us to calibrate our measures in the setting in which they are being applied. We hypothesize that this therapy will relieve both self-reported and objective, physiological symptoms of hyperarousal.

Relevance to health and the VA mission: Many of our clients at the VA Palo Alto Mental Health Outpatient Services for PTSD are veterans of Iraq, who need help with hyperarousal symptoms. This study will fill in gaps in our knowledge about the physiology of these symptoms and about the efficacy of relaxation therapies. Non-pharmacological treatments like the ones that we propose may relieve patients' hyperarousal to an extent that they are less tempted to turn to alcohol or sedative drugs. Physiological proof of the effectiveness of relaxation procedures in this clinical group would help convince clinicians to apply them and patient consumers to try them.

  Eligibility

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

*Participants in the PTSD treatment MUST be US military veterans. Healthy volunteers may include members of the general community, as well as veterans or active duty military personnel*

  • Patients diagnosed by DSM-IV criteria for current PTSD,
  • OR met DSM-IV criteria for PTSD within last 5 years.
  • Patients must either have participated in a trauma-focused therapy,
  • OR have declined to participate in such a therapy.
  • In addition, they must currently score positive on at least 2 of the 5 D criteria symptoms.

This will be defined as having a CAPS frequency plus intensity ratings greater than or equal to 4.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patients with evidence of current significant alcohol abuse or dependence, psychosis, or substantial cognitive deficits,
  • OR who are severely depressed or acutely suicidal and will not be accepted until these problems are resolved.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00855816

Locations
United States, California
VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Palo Alto, California, United States, 94304-1290
Sponsors and Collaborators
Investigators
Principal Investigator: Walton Roth, MD VA Palo Alto Health Care System
  More Information

No publications provided

Responsible Party: Department of Veterans Affairs
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00855816     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: MHBA-019-08F
Study First Received: March 3, 2009
Results First Received: October 7, 2014
Last Updated: October 14, 2014
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Disease
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorders, Traumatic
Anxiety Disorders
Mental Disorders
Pathologic Processes

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on November 27, 2014