Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Kauffman, Russell


SSRIs, CBT, post-traumatic stress disorder, ketamine, treatment, military, veterans


The purpose of this research and systematic literature review is to compare the drug ketamine’s efficacy at treating post-traumatic stress disorder for veterans and active-duty military compared to approved Food and Drug Administration (FDA) options and combination medication/psychotherapy. In this review, three databases were searched including Pubmed, ClinicalKey, and PsycInfo from October 3 to January 9, 2023. Additionally, the Veterans Affairs (VA)/Department of Defense (DOD) Clinical Practice Guidelines was utilized. A variety of key and mesh terms were utilized when database searching. Chosen works for review included randomized control trials, systematic reviews, meta-analysis, and retro-perspective studies. Sources that were excluded included those published prior to the year 2010, multiple comorbidities, non-veteran, and non-military. In total, 18 resources were selected. Most of the research presented shows evidence for the use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as the gold standard of treatment for PTSD. Ketamine produced the desired results in the first 24 hours, and for reduced depressive symptoms for volunteers continuing treatment after the primary study had concluded; however, significantly increased long-term data with an increased number of participants is necessary to assess overall safety and efficacy of ketamine. Currently, SSRIs and CBT treatment is superior to ketamine treatment independently.