Have you experienced a traumatic event such as an accident, rape, or combat? Do you suffer from anxiety, nightmares, or upsetting memories? Trauma survivors often experience problems long after the event, and some develop an anxiety disorder called posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Case Western Reserve University and the University of Washington are seeking volunteers to participate in an NIMH-sponsored clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of two empirically supported treatments for PTSD: cognitive behavioral talk therapy (prolonged exposure) and an SSRI medication (Zoloft).


Eligible participants will be randomly assigned to either choose their treatment (PE or Zoloft), or, to be assigned one of the two treatments. All participants will receive 10 weeks of active treatment and 24 months of follow-up. Participants who do well in either treatment group may receive additional treatment at the conclusion of 10 weeks (optional PE booster sessions or medication for up to 24 months). Participants who do not respond to treatment after 10 weeks will be given the option to change their treatment. Treatment is provided at no cost and compensation will be provided for post-treatment and follow-up assessments.

University Hospitals Cleveland/Case Western Reserve
Principal Investigator
Norah C. Feeny, PhD
Eligibility Criteria

Participants who are between the ages of 18 and 65 with a current DSM-IV diagnosis of chronic PTSD (minimum duration of 12 weeks since the traumatic event) may be eligible for this treatment study.

Exclusion Criteria
  • Current diagnosis of schizophrenia or delusional disorder
  • Medically unstable bipolar disorder, depression with psychotic features, or depression severe enough to require immediate psychiatric treatment
  • Current diagnosis of alcohol or substance dependence within the previous 3 months
  • Ongoing intimate relationship with the perpetrator (in assault cases)
  • Unwilling or medically not advisable to discontinue current CBT or antidepressant medication
  • Previous non-response to either PE or sertraline
  • Medical contraindication for the initiation of sertraline (e.g., pregnancy)
Jennifer Fabritius, 216-368-0338
Cleveland, OH