28th International Conference on Psychiatry & Mental Health
Professor and Vice-Chair, Stanford University
Title: Neuroscience-informed interventions for youth with history of traumatic stress
Biography: Victor G. Carrion
Statement of the Problem: 35% of youth living in communities of high violence will develop significant posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Current treatment modalities that anchor in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may leave 20-50% of youth without adequate symptom relieve. New treatment modalities that address executive function, memory and emotion regulation are needed, and access and dissemination should be taken into consideration. This presentation will introduce Stanford’s Cue-Centered Therapy (CCT) and a school-district wide prevention effort that involves yoga and mindfulness in students’ curriculum. CCT integrates elements from CBT with other empirically validated interventions for traumatized youth (psychodynamic therapy, insight, self-efficacy, education). The prevention study focuses on health and wellness through meditation and exercise. Methodology & Theoretical Orientation: Our research identifying key brain regions (e.g.; hippocampus, amygdala, prefrontal cortex) alterations in structure and function as related to traumatic stress informed the development of CCT. CCT demonstrated effectiveness in reducing anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms in a randomized controlled trial. We are currently engaged in treatment outcome research to demonstrate CCT’s efficacy in improving brain function and cognitive and emotional outcomes. Findings: The presentation will focus on our imaging (sMRI and fMRI) and salivary cortisol studies that set the stage for the development of CCT. In addition, sleep was investigated in our prevention study. A curriculum of yoga and mindfulness improves sleep variables and these will be presented. Conclusion & Significance: New treatment modalities and dissemination plans need to be developed to address the highly heterogenous group of children that fall under the diagnostic umbrella of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Approaching both prevention and treatment that are informed by neuroscience research promises to make our interventions more focused and targeted.