This pilot study's aims are to develop a working diagnostic and treatment model of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) within a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) paradigm, and to evaluate the acceptability and potential benefit of an acupuncture approach for the treatment of PTSD symptoms. Specifically, we 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, measured by treatment completion rate and satisfaction; and 3) if an acupuncture treatment approach is associated with a reduction in PTSD symptoms that is comparable to the treatment effect of a standard Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach and better than no treatment. Because symptoms of depression, insomnia and pain are often associated with PTSD, we will also evaluate the potential benefit of an acupuncture approach on depression, insomnia and pain symptoms in people with PTSD. Analyses: A description of the TCM diagnoses for people with PTSD will be offered. Treatment completion rates between groups will be analyzed with Chi-square, and a continuous measure of satisfaction between groups will be analyzed with ANOVA on a single post-treatment measure. A group by time repeated measures ANOVA will be conducted to determine the relative effects of the Acupuncture vs. the CBT vs. the Wait-List condition, and will be reported in terms of both significance and effect sizes (Cohen's d). Significance: This pilot project will allow TCM practitioners to have a logical and empirical approach to TCM diagnosis and treatment of people who might be referred with PTSD. Further, this study will provide preliminary data about the acceptability and potential benefit of an acupuncture approach in people with PTSD symptoms. These data will be significant because: 1) there are no empirical data or consensus paradigms of a TCM acupuncture approach for the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD; and 2) these preliminary data should encourage higher powered randomized clinical trials about the effectiveness of acupuncture in PTSD and/or related anxiety disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAT1-K (03))
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Hopp, Craig
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University of New Mexico
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Hollifield, Michael (2011) Acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder: conceptual, clinical, and biological data support further research. CNS Neurosci Ther 17:769-79
Hollifield, Michael; Sinclair-Lian, Nityamo; Warner, Teddy D et al. (2007) Acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled pilot trial. J Nerv Ment Dis 195:504-13
Sinclair-Lian, Nityamo; Hollifield, Michael; Menache, Margaret et al. (2006) Developing a traditional chinese medicine diagnostic structure for post-traumatic stress disorder. J Altern Complement Med 12:45-57