Psychiatric Medications Through a Trauma Lens: An Overview for Mental Health Practitioners

Date: Friday, February 29, 2008
Time: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Cost: $95.00
Presenter: Frank Guastella Anderson, M.D.

All prescribing clinicians have access to the same medications; however, not everyone views these medications in the same way. With the growing number of medications used to address psychiatric symptoms—and the complex behaviors and emotions targeted by these medications in clients with histories of trauma exposure—it is not uncommon for mental health clinicians to feel confused as to how to treat trauma symptoms with the medications available in today’s clinical practice.

This workshop is designed for all mental health professionals. The presentation will discuss medications for PTSD, flashbacks, anxiety, and dissociation, both acute and chronic, in children as well as adults. This presentation will also address comorbid conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder and ADD. Participants will achieve greater understanding of the role of medication in addressing the biological substrates of trauma response, and differential goals of various medication categories. We will look at alternatives to traditional treatments as well as medications that are being newly developed for trauma.

The Training Institute of The Trauma Center at JRI is pleased to offer once again one of our most popular workshops. Comments from past participants include the following:

“Great presenter; I appreciate the most current updates with research.” - LMHC

“Very, very helpful and enjoyable.” - Ph.D.

“Excellent depth of knowledge.” – M.D.

“Comprehensive information; clear, receptive to questions, and knowledgeable.” - Psy.D.

“Excellent speaker – excellent seminar for non-prescribing practitioners.” – (degree not given)

“Interesting presentation, helpful frame to consider underlying neurotransmitter…vs. a focus on specific medications.” - Ph.D.

“Frank was incredibly engaging, clear, and adept at making complex concepts understandable.” - Ph.D.

“Good synthesis of biology, psychopharm, and practical application.” – M.D.

“Please do this again!” - MSW


Frank Guastella Anderson, M.D., has a lengthy affiliation with The Trauma Center at JRI as a supervisor, faculty member, and past staff psychiatrist. Dr. Guastella Anderson completed his medical training at Rush University Medical School in Chicago, with internship at Framingham Union Hospital and Residency at Massachusetts Mental Health Center/Harvard Medical School, where he was also an attending psychiatrist. Dr. Guastella Anderson has conducted numerous workshops on the psychopharmacological treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder and complex trauma adaptations. Currently, Dr. Guastella Anderson is in private practice in Concord, MA.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

1) Participants will increase their knowledge of the range of psychiatric medications available to treat symptoms associated with exposure to traumatic stress.

2) Participants will gain understanding of the differential role of various medication categories in targeting trauma-related symptoms.

3) Participants will gain understanding of the ways psychiatric medications target biological substrates of the trauma response.

4) Participants will gain awareness of alternatives to traditional pharmacological treatments in targeting the traumatic stress response.


Cohen, J.A. (2001).  Pharmacologic treatment of traumatized children.  Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 2, 155-171.

Davidson, J. (2005, November).  A new treatment algorithm for posttraumatic stress disorder.  Psychiatric Annals.

Davidson, J.R.T. & van der Kolk, B.A. (1996).  The psychopharmacological treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder.  In Traumatic stress: The effects of overwhelming experience on mind, body, and society.  B. van der Kolk, A. McFarlane & L.Weisaeth (Eds.).  New York: Guilford Press, 510-524.

Nemeroff, C. & Vale, W. (2005).  The neurobiology of depression: Inroads to treatment and new drug discovery.  Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 66, Supplement 7.