a study on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
There is evidence demonstrating that aerobic exercise improves many symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) including; anxiety, depression, insomnia, and cognition. With the goal of using exercise as a rehabilitation therapy for Veterans with PTSD, a team of scientists and doctors developed a 12-week exercise program, combining aerobic and strength training with concentration training and mindful breathing techniques. The initial pilot study suggested that Integrative Exercise may improve overall quality of life, sleep quality, cardiovascular fitness, and PTSD symptoms. This new study will help determine the effectiveness of Integrative Exercise compared to health education classes. The overall goal is to determine if integrative exercise is an effective rehabilitation intervention for combat Veterans with PTSD.
Despite the considerable efforts of the VA to improve awareness of mental health problems and access to care, many returning Veterans still report substantial barriers to seeking traditional mental health care. There is a large body of evidence demonstrating that aerobic exercise effectively improves many outcomes relevant to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) including; anxiety, depression, insomnia, cognition, and cardiovascular disease. In addition, there is a rapidly growing evidence base showing that aerobic exercise produces an increase in the growth of new neurons (e.g., neurogenesis) and increases the volume of the hippocampus which underscores the potential value of exercise for producing broad benefits to psychological health. Recognizing the promise that exercise might hold for attracting more Veterans into care and improving overall health in Veterans with PTSD, a team of investigators at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center (SFVAMC) with funding from the Department of Defense developed a treatment protocol and completed a pilot study of Integrative Exercise (Aerobic exercise and Breath Training 3 weekly sessions over 12 weeks) versus a waitlist control condition. Promising results from this trial have led us to the next step which is to conduct a definitive efficacy study of Integrative Exercise versus an active health education control condition: Illness Management and Recovery (IMR). The control condition will be matched on contact hours with treatment personnel. The goal of this revised proposal is to test if Integrative Exercise improves overall quality of life, PTSD symptoms, sleep quality, and measures of cardiovascular health in combat Veterans with chronic PTSD relative to the IMR condition. Another goal is to test if improvements in quality of life are predicted by improvements in cardiovascular fitness as measured by exercise capacity on treadmill testing. Finally, the proposal will test if Integrative Exercise versus IMR will produce greater improvements in additional health outcomes, including mood, subjective sleep quality, and PTSD symptoms.
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic Exercise Mindfulness
Open to people ages 18 years to 69 years
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