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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat. Learn more about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

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For opportunities to participate in NIMH research on the NIH campus, visit the clinical research website. Travel and lodging assistance available.

Featured Studies

Featured studies include only those currently recruiting participants. Studies with the most recent start date appear first.

Neuroendocrine Risk for PTSD in Women

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: November 11, 2019
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Eligibility: Females, Ages 18–35, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

This study will test for effects of estradiol (E2) on PTSD symptoms and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) indicators of stress vulnerability, in naturally-cycling women who are not using hormonal birth control. Enrollment will be targeted to create three groups within two cohorts (early follicular phase and luteal phase):

1. PTSD: Women who meet Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria for PTSD

2. Trauma-Exposed (TC): Women matched for age and trauma exposure severity but without PTSD

3. Healthy Control (HC): Women matched for age, but without trauma history or psychiatric disorder (self-reported)

Women will be recruited through Grady Trauma Project (GTP), a large longstanding study of civilian trauma and PTSD conducted at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

Low Intensity Family Support for Refugees in an LMIC

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: August 16, 2019
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Eligibility: Ages 12–55, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The rapidly growing scale of humanitarian crises requires new response capabilities geared towards addressing populations with prolonged high vulnerability to mental health consequences and little to no access to mental health, health, and social resources. This R21 develops and pilot tests a novel model for helping urban refugee families in LMICs with little to no access to evidence-based mental health services, by delivering a transdiagnostic family intervention for common mental disorders in health sector and non-health sector settings. The project is located in Istanbul, Turkey. Aim 1 forms a Family Support Design Team (FSDT) to adopt the PM+ and CAFES manuals into a family support (FS) intervention for use with refugee families by lay providers in community sites and nurses in clinical sites using a four-session multiple family group format. Aim 2 pilots FS with families in community and clinical sites, and then through observations and qualitative interviews, assesses FS's feasibility, fidelity, the impact of context and local capacity, the experiences of intervention delivery, and practitioner and organizational perspectives on scale up. Aim 3 conducts pre, immediate post, and 3-month post assessments of the refugee families who received FS through all the sites, to demonstrate the kind of pre-post changes that have been reported for comparable interventions and to determine key parameters of interest with sufficient accuracy and precision. This exploratory investigation, conducted with the support and advice of the World Health Organization, will strengthen the research capabilities of the academic and community partners in Istanbul and will develop new evidence-based mental health services for refugees in Turkey and other LMICs, as well as for refugees and migrants in low resource communities in the United States.

Inflammation and Threat Sensitivity in PTSD

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: April 1, 2019
Location: San Francisco, California
Eligibility: Ages 30–60, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The overall goals of this study are to examine the relationship between chronic inflammation and threat and reward sensitivity, and to determine the effects of acute inflammation on threat sensitivity, in individuals with and without moderate to severe PTSD symptoms. The investigators will first conduct an observational study to examine the relationship between chronic inflammation and neural and behavioral measures of threat sensitivity. Then, the investigators will conduct a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subjects study to examine the effects of acute inflammation on neural and behavioral measures of threat sensitivity.

A Lay-Led Intervention for War and Refugee Related Trauma

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: July 14, 2018
Locations: Cleveland, Ohio; Seattle, Washington
Eligibility: Ages 18–65, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

This study will examine the initial efficacy and feasibility of a program called Islamic Trauma Healing by conducting a small RCT (N = 60) comparing Islamic Trauma Healing in an U.S. Somali refugee sample to a waitlist control on key targets of PTSD, depression, somatic symptoms, and quality of life. The hypothesis is that those in Islamic Trauma Healing will show a greater reduction of PTSD symptoms, depressive symptoms, and somatic symptoms and show a greater improvement in quality of well-being than those in the waitlist condition (WL).

Neuroeconomics of Social Behavior Following Trauma Exposure

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: November 14, 2017
Location: Belmont, Massachusetts
Eligibility: Females, Ages 18–45, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

This study will use a neuroeconomic paradigm with state-of-the-art imaging protocols to probe abnormal social reward processing underlying social withdrawal in symptomatic trauma-exposed women. By also gathering self-report measures of social anhedonia, performance on non-social and social reward valuation tasks, and measures of real-world social functioning including social network size, we aim to specify how alterations in social reward processing result in social withdrawal and functional impairment.

Suvorexant and Sleep's Benefits to Therapeutic Exposure for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: January 3, 2017
Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The purpose of this study is to examine effects of blocking the orexin system with suvorexant after exposure-based intervention for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on sleep, PTSD symptoms, and intersession habituation.

Evaluation of Patients With Mood and Anxiety Disorders and Healthy Volunteers

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: September 21, 2001
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Eligibility: Ages 3–99, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The purpose of this protocol is to allow for the careful screening of patients and healthy volunteers for participation in research protocols in the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Lab (ETPB) at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and for the collection of natural history data. In addition the protocol will allow clinicians to gain more experience in the use of a variety of polysomnographic and high-density EEG recordings. Subjects in this protocol will undergo an evaluation which may include: a psychiatric interview; a diagnostic interview; rating scales; a medical history; a physical exam; brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); electroencephalography (EEG); electrocardiography (EKG), magnetoencephalography (MEG); blood, saliva and urine laboratory evaluation; and a request for medical records. Subjects may also be asked to complete questionnaires about attitudes towards research and motivation for research participation. The data collected may also be linked with data from other mood and anxiety disorder protocols (e.g., brain imaging, DNA, psychophysiology tests, treatment studies, etc) for the purposes of better understanding the diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment response of patients with mood disorders. Parents of minors will be interviewed. Upon conclusion of the screening process, subjects will either be offered participation in a research protocol and will sign the appropriate informed consent, or will be considered not appropriate for participation in research and will be referred back into the community. The current protocol thus serves as an entry point for individuals with mood or anxiety disorders or healthy volunteers to enter NIMH IRB approved ETPB protocols.