Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Intensive CBT for PTSD Found Effective With Faster Time to Recovery

Cognitive therapy for PTSD delivered intensively over little more than a week was as effective as cognitive therapy delivered over three months, and both were superior to supportive therapy, according to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, "A Randomized Controlled Trial of 7-Day Intensive and Standard Weekly Cognitive Therapy for PTSD and Emotion-Focused Supportive Therapy."

British researchers randomly allocated patients with chronic PTSD (N=121) to seven-day intensive cognitive therapy for PTSD, three months of standard weekly cognitive therapy, three months of weekly emotion-focused supportive therapy, or a 14-week waiting-list condition. The primary outcomes were change in PTSD symptoms and diagnosis as measured by independent assessor ratings and self-report. Evaluations were conducted at the baseline assessment and at six and 14 weeks (the posttreatment/wait assessment).

At the posttreatment/wait assessment, 73 percent of the intensive cognitive therapy group, 77 percent of the standard cognitive therapy group, 43 percent of the supportive therapy group, and 7 percent of the waiting list group had recovered from PTSD. All treatments were well tolerated and were superior to waiting list on nearly all outcome measures; no difference was observed between supportive therapy and waiting list on quality of life. For primary outcomes, disability, and general anxiety, intensive and standard cognitive therapy were superior to supportive therapy. Intensive cognitive therapy achieved faster symptom reduction and comparable overall outcomes to standard cognitive therapy.

“The feasibility of intensive cognitive therapy is of interest for therapeutic settings where treatment needs to be conducted over a short period of time, such as in residential therapy units or occupational groups exposed to trauma, or where patients have to get better quickly to avoid secondary complications such as job loss or marital problems," the researchers stated. "The feasibility of intensive treatment is also of interest for patient choice, as some patients may find a shorter condensed treatment preferable.”

For more on treatment of PTSD see the Psychiatric News article, "Neurotransmitters Studied as Way to Enhance PTSD Treatment." Also, see Care of Military Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families by American Psychiatric Publishing.

(Image: Shutterstock/Tashatuvango)


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