Effects of an Alternative Treatment for Military Sexual Trauma on PTSD Symptoms, Neurosteroids and Brain Function

2014-08-27 03:42:36 | BioPortfolio


Our specific aims are:

1. To examine the efficacy of GIFT in improving MST-related clinical outcomes in women veterans

2. To examine the effects of GIFT on fronto-limbic brain function and

3. To examine the effects of GIFT on levels of neuroactive steroid associated with PTSD.


Guided imagery is a complementary and alternative treatment (CAM) modality. This directed meditation technique uses healing imagery to promote recovery in a variety of illnesses, including cancer, heart disease and, more recently, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a severe and disabling anxiety disorder. It is among the most common mental disorders, affecting 10% of women in the United States during their lifetime. Sexual assault is the most common cause of PTSD. Similarly, military sexual trauma (MST) is disturbingly common among women in the armed forces. At least 20% of women veterans using VA services report a history of sexual assault. Unfortunately, high rates of MST-related PTSD are anticipated among women currently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

To address this issue, we will evaluate a guided imagery intervention for women veterans who have MST-related PTSD. We will evaluate the efficacy of Guided Imagery for Trauma (GIFT) in decreasing PTSD symptoms. Using brain-imaging techniques, this research will examine the effects of GIFT on brain function in the areas associated with PTSD. We will also examine the effects of GIFT on neurosteroids, which are candidate modulators of PTSD symptoms, and may also represent novel targets for therapeutic intervention.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Stress Disorders


Guided Imagery for Trauma (GIFT)


Women Veterans' Comprehensive Health Center (WVCHC) @ Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (DVAMC)
North Carolina
United States




Samueli Institute for Information Biology

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:42:36-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A class of traumatic stress disorders that is characterized by the significant dissociative states seen immediately after overwhelming trauma. By definition it cannot last longer than 1 month, if it persists, a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (STRESS DISORDERS, POST-TRAUMATIC) is more appropriate.

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The bestowing of tangible or intangible benefits, voluntarily and usually without expectation of anything in return. However, gift giving may be motivated by feelings of ALTRUISM or gratitude, by a sense of obligation, or by the hope of receiving something in return.

A class of traumatic stress disorders with symptoms that last more than one month. There are various forms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depending on the time of onset and the duration of these stress symptoms. In the acute form, the duration of the symptoms is between 1 to 3 months. In the chronic form, symptoms last more than 3 months. With delayed onset, symptoms develop more than 6 months after the traumatic event.

Anxiety disorders manifested by the development of characteristic symptoms following a psychologically traumatic event that is outside the normal range of usual human experience. Symptoms include re-experiencing the traumatic event, increased arousal, and numbing of responsiveness to or reduced involvement with the external world. Traumatic stress disorders can be further classified by the time of onset and the duration of these symptoms.

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