Congratulations to A/Prof Katherine Mills and team on their NHMRC Project grant success!

Congratulations to A/Prof Katherine Mills and team on their NHMRC Project grant success!

Date:
5 Dec 2016
image - Kath Mills Sq 0

A/Prof Katherine Mills is Chief Investigator on a new 3 year NHMRC Project grant titled "Randomised controlled trial of an integrated cognitive-behavioural therapy for the treatment of co-occurring post traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorder in adolescents. (COPE-A)".

 

Synopsis: The hidden epidemic of child and adolescent trauma is an issue of significant public health concern in Australia and internationally. The prevalence of trauma exposure peaks in adolescence (80%) and one in seven suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a chronic, debilitating psychiatric disorder. For 50% of adolescents suffering from PTSD, the course of their illness is further complicated by the development of a co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD), which typically develops as a consequence of repeated self-medication of PTSD symptoms. Adolescence marks a critical developmental period of significant social, biological, and neurological changes, and there is growing evidence of associations between PTSD, SUD and significant structural brain abnormalities. These abnormalities have been linked to considerable impairments in learning, memory, planning, impulse control and emotional regulation. There is an urgent need to intervene early in the trajectory in order to prevent the chronic psychological and physical health problems associated with this comorbidity in adulthood. However, there are currently no empirically validated treatment options for adolescents with PTSD and SUD. Building on our unique collaborative success, we seek to conduct a world-first randomised controlled trial (RCT) examining the efficacy of an integrated 16-session cognitive-behavioural therapy for co-occurring PTSD and SUD (COPE-A) relative to a supportive counselling control condition, among 100 adolescents aged 12-17 years. This trial will be conducted across three States in Australia. As a world-first RCT addressing an issue of great importance to human health, the findings will be of utmost interest to scientific and clinical communities worldwide. By intervening earlier when these disorders have their onset, the enduring disability and costs associated with this comorbidity may be reduced.

 

Congratulations again to the whole team involved: Kath Mills, Maree Teesson, Sudie Back, Emma Barrett, Vanessa Cobham, Sarah Bendall, Sean Perrin, Kathleen Brady, Jo Ross, Tim Slade, Christina Marel & Amanda Baker.