By Dr. Alan Simmons

Adobe Stock Photo

Combat stress can lead to a number of impactful emotional and cognitive conditions, such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI). Because symptoms of these disorders tend to overlap, they are often managed with similar medications. The most commonly prescribed medication for these conditions is Sertraline, but it has not been fully successful. To help improve treatment response, CESAMH investigators are exploring a different approach to understanding and treating the symptoms of combat-related conditions.

Instead of using a diagnosis to determine treatment, CESAMH researchers are looking to identify the brain areas involved in producing symptoms associated with PTSD, MDD and mTBI. Their approach is to identify individuals with similar patterns in brain activity. They theorize that understanding the brain areas involved may provide more useful information about successful treatments than using traditional clinical diagnoses. This study is one of the first to link clinical research and clinical practice to best benefit our Veterans.