The purpose of this study is to evaluate acupuncture as a treatment for Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD) and to correlate the diagnosis of PTSD with Traditional Chinese
Medicine (TCM) diagnostic patterns.
This study will evaluate: 1) the TCM diagnostic differentiation patterns of people who have
PTSD as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th edition; 2) if an acupuncture
treatment approach is acceptable to people with PTSD; and 3) if an acupuncture treatment
approach is associated with a reduction in PTSD symptoms that is comparable to that of
standard treatments. Because symptoms of depression, insomnia, and pain are often associated
with PTSD, we will also evaluate the potential benefit of an acupuncture approach to
depression, insomnia, and pain symptoms in people with PTSD.
Patients in this study will be randomized to one of three groups. Group A will receive
acupuncture therapy. Group B will receive standard Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Group C is
a control group and will receive no treatment. Patients in Groups A and B will undergo a
total of 24 hours of therapy over the 3 month study course. All patients will have five
nontherapeutic study visits; these visits will address diagnosis and assessment. Study
visits will include assessments of PTSD symptoms, sleep symptoms, and level of impairment.
- DSM-IV diagnosis of PTSD
- Stage I PTSD symptoms
- PTSD Symptom Scale-Self Report (PSS-SR) score > 16
- Meets PSS-SR diagnostic criteria
- Stage I substance abuse and/or dependence in the past 6 months
- Psychotic disorder
- Inability to commit to treatment or wait-list conditions
- Current treatment specifically for PTSD
- Certain medical conditions, including thyroid disease, class IV heart failure, active
cancer treatment, and uncontrolled diabetes
- Use of benzodiazepines, narcotics, opiates, narcotic antagonists, sleep medication,
muscle relaxants, analgesics, or sedatives.