U of A and Glenrose launch new initiative to study PTSD 'crisis' in veterans and first responders

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U of A and Glenrose launch new initiative to study PTSD 'crisis' in veterans and first responders

Post by Spider on Fri 24 Nov 2017, 7:52 pm

About 20 per cent of first-responders face PTSD at some point in their careers.

Firefighter Paul Semeniuk said research on PTSD is long overdue.

By: Kashmala Fida Metro Published on Fri Nov 24 2017

Experts from the University of Alberta and Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital are teaming up to finally get some answers about why and how post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects veterans and first responders.

The new initiative was announced Thursday, with the goal of spurring in-depth research into the anxiety disorder described as a “crisis” for rehabilitation and health-care professionals.

As many as one in five first responders are believed to face PTSD at some point in their career, according to Dr. John Misiaszek, the associate dean of research at the U of A’s Faculty of Rehab Medicine.

But he said that experts still don’t know enough about treating the disorder, which can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event.

“At the moment, we know a bit about PTSD, but we don’t know a lot,” Misiaszek said.

“We don’t quite understand the biological mechanisms behind it, and because we don’t know the biological mechanism behind it, we may or may not know the best treatment approaches to dealing with it.”

One of the big outstanding questions, he said, is why people react differently to traumatic events.

“Why do they respond differently? What are the best treatments that are available, and how do we select and choose the best treatments between each individual.”

Not surprisingly, first responders are particularly at risk.

Among them is Paul Semeniuk, a local firefighter who also co-founded an advocacy organization called the Mental Rescue Society, to raise awareness of the stress put on fire personnel.

Semeniuk defines PTSD as stress that has gone on too long, and says, as first responders, “We never know what situation or event is going to boil that kettle.”

He said he was recently called to the scene of a man who was hit by an LRT and later died.
“That incidence kind of rocked my world a little bit,” he said. “I lost sleep, I couldn’t stop thinking about that situation, for some reason, so it was that accumulation of stress.”

He said research in the area is long overdue.

“I think that the more organisations and professionals that are investing their time into discovering what it is exactly that causes PTSD in the brain, I think the sooner we can pinpoint the help that is needed,” he said.

Misiaszek said the research is focused on first responders and veterans, but the results will be helpful for all Canadians.
PTSD affects about 9 per cent of the population at some point it their lives, he said.

“We know it’s a fairly significant number of people who are affected. It can be the general population as well. For example, people who are diagnosed with chronic illness, women who have been sexually assaulted also experience PTSD.”

The initiative is in the early stages, and currently accepting proposals from research teams.

A group of experts from the university will choose which researchers will be funded.

The Glenrose has $100,000 in funding, and will also oversee the clinical aspect of the research.

Misiaszek said they’re also seeking funding from other donors, and hopes this becomes a long-term initiative.

“For the collaboration between the Glenrose, the faculty, Veteran Affairs Canada, NAIT and other partners who are establishing this initiative, we hope this is the start of something great.”

Once proposals are accepted, official research will begin mid 2018.



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Re: U of A and Glenrose launch new initiative to study PTSD 'crisis' in veterans and first responders

Post by Xmedic on Tue 28 Nov 2017, 11:44 pm

I would like to participate in this study, if possible, as a former medic veteran with delayed onset ptsd.


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