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Treatment Important To Recovery from PTSD



DR. Michael Shery, clinical psychology

  2615 Three Oaks Rd. Ste 2A; Cary, IL 60013 847 275 8236 (24 Hrs);




Doctoral degree: University of Southern California, 1975






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Participating In Some Form of Treatment Important To Recovery from PTSD and Resuming Quality of Life

Over one percent of the American population is involved in a serious (causing personal injury) motor vehicle accident (MVA) each year and a majority will experience at least a minor MVA by the age of 30. MVAs are considered the leading cause of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general population and car accidents are the number one trauma for men and the second most frequent trauma for women, according to a new book that examines updated research on PTSD among car accident victims and some effective treatments for the disorder.

Research of MVA survivors in the Albany, New York area was conducted in the early 1990s. Authors Edward B. Blanchard, Ph.D., and Edward J. Hickling, Psy.D., explain in their comprehensive review of MVA survivors the importance of getting appropriate psychological treatment along with medical treatment to overcome the psychological trauma caused by a car accident.

In 1997, a report was published that examined over a five-year period a cohort of 158 motor vehicle survivors who sought medical attention within 48 hours of the MVA and volunteered to be assessed for PTSD one to four months after their accident. A second report, published December 2003, examined a second cohort of 161 seriously injured motor vehicle survivors for a five-year period who also sought medical attention within 48 hours of the MVA. The difference between the two cohorts was the participants in the second cohort actively sought treatment for psychological distress and were recruited six to 24 months after their accident to meet the criteria for chronic PTSD.

Comparing the results of the two groups, the authors found that participants in the second cohort had fewer prior MVAs but both had similar levels of any prior trauma. But, note the authors, the participants in the second group had significantly higher levels of prior PTSD (42%) compared with the participants in the first group (16%). This may be why the MVA survivors in the second cohort actively sought treatment, say the authors.

Among the second cohort, 110 of the participants were diagnosed with PTSD, 33 were diagnosed with sub-clinical PTSD and 18 were not diagnosed with PTSD. Approximately 60 percent of the participants in this second group who were diagnosed with PTSD were also diagnosed with major depression. From a questionnaire developed to assess anxiety created by car travel, close to 95 percent of the participants diagnosed with PTSD endured noticeable to high levels of anxiety when driving in some situations and avoided certain driving situations (i.e. nighttime driving, driving on the highway or in bad weather).

PTSD caused by MVAs and other traumas is a serious mental health problem and must be appropriately diagnosed. If it isn’t diagnosed or misdiagnosed, the trauma victim could suffer from life long PTSD.

Out of the 161 participants in the second cohort, 98 participated in this therapy protocol. Twenty-seven percent were men and the average age was 41. On average, the participants suffered the MVA 14 months prior to starting therapy. This protocol had a better than 75 percent success rate on measures of PTSD as well as improving major role functioning, relations with family and friends, participation in recreation and overall functioning. The benefits held up well for the intermediate and long-term (one and two year follow up). Ninety-one percent of the participants were also suffering from lingering physical injuries and 59 percent were involved in litigation.

According to the authors, brief supportive psychotherapy was also effective for these MVA survivors with chronic PTSD. The benefits, although not as great as CBT, were better for survivors who were on the waitlist for treatment. Earlier trauma, said the authors, increased the likelihood of developing PTSD following a MVA. A combination of psychological and pharmacological treatments may also benefit those MVA survivors who are suffering from multiple maladies, like depression, chronic pain and sleep problems.

The following conclusions were noted about other treatment studies:

  • Single sessions occurring in the first two weeks after the MVA were found not to be effective and detrimental for those survivors who had high scores on the Impact of Event Scale.
  • Multiple sessions using cognitive-behavioral treatments administered early to high-risk MVA survivors were effective in preventing later PTSD.

According to the National Co-Morbidity Survey that examined over 8,000 individuals between the ages of 15 to 54 on lifetime and 12-month prevalence of psychiatric disorders in 1990-1992 reviewed, close to 40 percent of the sample who did not receive mental health treatment for PTSD resulting from either a MVA or other cause within six years after the trauma continued to suffer from PTSD as long as 10 years after the initial trauma.

Treatments for MVA survivors may also be effective for survivors of physical injuries, railroad and boating accidents, airplane crashes, rape and assault, said the authors. MVAs are the most common trauma in the United States affecting both men and women, young and old.



Presented by:


Dr. Mike Shery is the director of ACRS and pre-screens injury victims for psychological prevent it from being overlooked in a claim; it’s available nationwide.  He also is a licensed clinical psychologist. He has practiced clinical psychology for approximately 24 years and is affiliated with almost all health plans, including: ValueOptions, Medicare, Cigna, Cigna Behavioral Health, United Health Care, Aetna, First Health, Healthstar, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, ComPsych, Magellan Health, HFN, Tricare, Humana, most union local plans, most school district plans, Unicare, ChoiceCare, CAPP, Multiplan, Mental Health Network, Managed Health Network, PHCS, PPONext, Humana Military-Tricare, United Behavioral Health and Beech Street.


He is board certified as a specialist in professional counseling by the International Academy of Behavioral Medicine, Counseling and Psychotherapy.  He a member of the American Counseling Association.


The office is located in Cary, IL, near Crystal Lake and Algonquin, northern Kane County and in southern McHenry County. In select cases, phone consultations are available for those who don’t live locally> Telephone Counseling.


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