Treatment modalities of female Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: A systematic review of the literature

Alexandra Jane Shepherd, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Objective. To review professional literature regarding treatment modalities of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) amongst female Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) veterans, to assess the efficacy of these treatment options, and to summarize implications of the findings from this literature. Design. Systematic review of published literature. Data sources. Medline, Pubmed, Psycinfo. Review Methods. Articles selected for the literature review pertain to the treatment options of female OIF or OEF veterans who have a diagnosis of PTSD. In addition, other relevant articles, such as articles that discuss the prevalence of the problem, access to care, and similar treatment modalities for PTSD in other war settings, were selected for background information for the review. Results. The search strategy identified 1,305 potential journal articles, taken from thorough searches in Medline, Pubmed, and Psycinfo. These articles were then imported into Refworks. Following final screening, there were 18 articles included in the systematic review and 28 articles used as background information. The remaining articles were excluded following screening of abstract and/or full text of articles. Treatment modalities presented in these trials include: Exposure Therapy (average of 68% reduction in PTSD symptoms), Imagery Rehearsal Therapy (23% reduction), Body-Oriented Therapy (57% reduction), Electroconvulsive Therapy (35% reduction), Holographic Reprocessing (47% reduction), a self-defense training program (13% reduction), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (65% reduction) and a variety of pharmacotherapies (antipsychotics at 81% reduction, sympatholytic drug at 100% reduction). Outcomes of the studies included in this systematic review were measured by using personal assessment of whether there was a reduction in symptoms of PTSD, based on the results in each study. Conclusion. Overall, all of the treatment modalities investigated in the systematic review proved to be somewhat effective in relieving the burden of symptoms of PTSD amongst female veterans of OIF/OEF. In addition to pharmacotherapy, which had the highest reduction in PTSD symptoms, both the Exposure Therapy and the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques proved to have the most positive results. As all of the therapies had a positive effect on this population, to some degree, a study needs to be done in the future to compare and contrast the efficacy of each therapy intervention when applied to a standardized population.

Subject Area

Mental health|Clinical psychology|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Shepherd, Alexandra Jane, "Treatment modalities of female Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: A systematic review of the literature" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1516285.