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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2 (2005), Issue 4, Pages 503-512
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/neh127
Review

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Evidence-Based Research for the Third Millennium

1UCLA School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, CHS 63-090, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1668, USA
2Psychoneuroimmunology Group, Inc., Los Angeles, CA, USA
3David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Received 10 June 2004; Accepted 12 September 2005

Copyright © 2005 Javier Iribarren et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The stress that results from traumatic events precipitates a spectrum of psycho-emotional and physiopathological outcomes. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that results from the experience or witnessing of traumatic or life-threatening events. PTSD has profound psychobiological correlates, which can impair the person's daily life and be life threatening. In light of current events (e.g. extended combat, terrorism, exposure to certain environmental toxins), a sharp rise in patients with PTSD diagnosis is expected in the next decade. PTSD is a serious public health concern, which compels the search for novel paradigms and theoretical models to deepen the understanding of the condition and to develop new and improved modes of treatment intervention. We review the current knowledge of PTSD and introduce the role of allostasis as a new perspective in fundamental PTSD research. We discuss the domain of evidence-based research in medicine, particularly in the context of complementary medical intervention for patients with PTSD. We present arguments in support of the notion that the future of clinical and translational research in PTSD lies in the systematic evaluation of the research evidence in treatment intervention in order to insure the most effective and efficacious treatment for the benefit of the patient.