Savannah VA Clinic is working to find a treatment for PTSD and substance abuse

SAVANNAH, GA – The Savannah VA Outpatient Clinic is conducting a clinical trial to develop a treatment for PTSD and substance abuse.

Twenty percent of the millions of men and women who serve in the U.S. military experience Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Nearly half of them turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. PTSD can lead to unemployment, violence, homelessness or even suicide.

“It’s sort of a way of self medicating, and a lot of veterans think that it will help, but in the long run it can actually make the symptoms worse,” said Michelle Pompei Research Study Coordinator at the Savannah VA Outpatient Clinic.

The VA Clinic in Charleston has been conducting the Patriot Study, or PTSD and Alcohol Treatment Research in Outpatient Trials, for the past year. The Savannah VA Clinic began the study over the summer of 2017 after its grand opening. For twelve weeks, veterans in the trial take doxazosin, a medication normally used to treat high blood pressure. Researchers believe doxazosin will last longer than prazosin, which is commonly used to treat PTSD. Participants also have the option to undergo therapy at the clinic, or accept help elsewhere.

“If we’re able to curb some of the drug or alcohol use and curb some of the symptoms like nightmares, they’re able to just in general cope with PTSD better,” said Pompei.

Pompei told News 3, she hopes the study will encourage veterans to seek help, building a bridge to further treatment in the future. “I feel like this is a valuable way to give back to the medical community and then also be able to help veterans and just be a source of compassion for them,” she said.

If you suffer from PTSD and substance use and are interested in participating in the Patriot Study, call: 912-920-0214 ext. 2169 or 2132. Participants in the study are compensated.

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