Treatment for PTSD Related to Childhood Abuse: A Randomized Controlled Trial
ABSTRACT Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to childhood abuse is associated with features of affect regulation and interpersonal disturbances that substantially contribute to impairment. Existing treatments do not address these problems or the difficulties they may pose in the exploration of trauma memories, an efficacious and frequently recommended approach to resolving PTSD. The authors evaluated the benefits and risks of a treatment combining an initial preparatory phase of skills training in affect and interpersonal regulation (STAIR) followed by exposure by comparing it against two control conditions: Supportive Counseling followed by Exposure (Support/Exposure) and skills training followed by Supportive Counseling (STAIR/Support).
Participants were women with PTSD related to childhood abuse (N=104) who were randomly assigned to the STAIR/Exposure condition, Support/Exposure condition (exposure comparator), or STAIR/Support condition (skills comparator) and assessed at posttreatment, 3 months, and 6 months.
The STAIR/Exposure group was more likely to achieve sustained and full PTSD remission relative to the exposure comparator, while the skills comparator condition fell in the middle (27% versus 13% versus 0%). STAIR/Exposure produced greater improvements in emotion regulation than the exposure comparator and greater improvements in interpersonal problems than both conditions. The STAIR/Exposure dropout rate was lower than the rate for the exposure comparator and similar to the rate for the skills comparator. There were significantly lower session-to-session PTSD symptoms during the exposure phase in the STAIR/Exposure condition than in the Support/Exposure condition. STAIR/Exposure was associated with fewer cases of PTSD worsening relative to both of the other two conditions.
For a PTSD population with chronic and early-life trauma, a phase-based skills-to-exposure treatment was associated with greater benefits and fewer adverse effects than treatments that excluded either skills training or exposure.
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ABSTRACT: Prolonged exposure (PE) is an effective psychological treatment for patients who suffer from PTSD. The majority of PTSD patients have comorbid psychiatric disorders, and some clinicians are hesitant to use PE with comorbid patients because they believe that comorbid conditions may worsen during PE. In this article, we reviewed the evidence for this question: what are the effects of PE on comorbid symptoms and associated symptomatic features? We reviewed findings from 18 randomized controlled trials of PE that assessed the most common comorbid conditions (major depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, personality disorders, and psychotic disorders) and additional symptomatic features (suicidality, dissociation, negative cognitions, negative emotions, and general health and work/social functioning). Although systematic research is not available for all comorbid populations, the existing research indicates that comorbid disorders and additional symptomatic features either decline along with the PTSD symptoms or do not change as a result of PE. Therefore, among the populations that have been studied to date, there is no empirical basis for excluding PTSD patients from PE due to fear of increases in comorbid conditions or additional symptomatic features. Limitations of the existing research and recommendations for future research are also discussed.Current Psychiatry Reports 03/2015; 17(3):549. DOI:10.1007/s11920-015-0549-1 · 3.05 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Effective first-line treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are well established, but their generalizability to child abuse (CA)-related Complex PTSD is largely unknown. A quantitative review of the literature was performed, identifying seven studies, with treatments specifically targeting CA-related PTSD or Complex PTSD, which were meta-analyzed, including variables such as effect size, drop-out, recovery, and improvement rates. Only six studies with one or more cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) treatment conditions and one with a present centered therapy condition could be meta-analyzed. RESULTS indicate that CA-related PTSD patients profit with large effect sizes and modest recovery and improvement rates. Treatments which include exposure showed greater effect sizes especially in completers' analyses, although no differential results were found in recovery and improvement rates. However, results in the subgroup of CA-related Complex PTSD studies were least favorable. Within the Complex PTSD subgroup, no superior effect size was found for exposure, and affect management resulted in more favorable recovery and improvement rates and less drop-out, as compared to exposure, especially in intention-to-treat analyses. Limited evidence suggests that predominantly CBT treatments are effective, but do not suffice to achieve satisfactory end states, especially in Complex PTSD populations. Moreover, we propose that future research should focus on direct comparisons between types of treatment for Complex PTSD patients, thereby increasing generalizability of results.European Journal of Psychotraumatology 10/2014; 5:23613. DOI:10.3402/ejpt.v5.23613 · 2.40 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Pregnant adolescents are a group at high risk for exposure to traumatic experiences. The present study aimed to examine if Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) typically applied to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), could also be applied to unresolved states of mind in a sample of socially at-risk pregnant adolescents. Forty-three adolescents who were in their second trimester of pregnancy and who also had positive indices of unresolved states of mind or symptoms of PTSD were randomly assigned to either the treatment as usual (parenting classes) or intervention (parenting classes + TF-CBT) group. Adolescent mother-infant dyads were then re-assessed at infant ages 6 and 12 months on a broad range of measures, including those specific to attachment, as well as to PTSD, and adolescent behavioral adjustment. Twenty-six of the 43 (60%) recruited subjects completed all components of the study protocol. Although there were no significant effects of the TF-CBT intervention on maternal attachment, infant attachment, PTSD diagnosis and adolescent behavioral adjustment, several study limitations restrict our ability to draw firm conclusions about the efficacy of TF-CBT for use in pregnant adolescents with complex trauma. The discussion offers insight and guidance for clinical work and future intervention research efforts with this vulnerable population.Attachment & Human Development 02/2015; DOI:10.1080/14616734.2015.1006386 · 2.38 Impact Factor