Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Exposure Therapy May Help Prevent Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Date:
June 6, 2008
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Exposure-based therapy, in which recent trauma survivors are instructed to relive the troubling event, may be effective in preventing the progression from acute stress disorder to post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Exposure-based therapy, in which recent trauma survivors are instructed to relive the troubling event, may be effective in preventing the progression from acute stress disorder to post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a new report.

Related Articles


Individuals who develop acute stress disorder during or soon after a traumatic event are likely to subsequently develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to background information in the article. PTSD is associated with other mental and physical illnesses, a reduced quality of life and increased health care costs. Both exposure therapy and cognitive restructuring, which focuses on changing maladaptive thoughts and responses to a traumatic event, have been used as early interventions to prevent PTSD in those with acute stress disorder. However, there is evidence that some clinicians do not use exposure therapy because it causes distress for recent trauma survivors.

Richard A. Bryant, Ph.D., of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial involving 90 patients who developed acute stress disorder following a non-sexual assault or motor vehicle crash between March 2002 and June 2006. Thirty participants each were randomly assigned to five weekly 90-minute sessions of exposure therapy or cognitive restructuring, while the remaining 30 were put on a waitlist for treatment. All the patients were assessed at the beginning of the study, after six weeks and six months following treatment.

Sixty-three participants completed the study. After completing treatment, fewer patients in the exposure therapy group (10, or 33 percent) met criteria for PTSD than patients in the cognitive restructuring group (19, or 63 percent) or the wait-list group (23, or 77 percent). At the six-month follow-up, fewer patients in the exposure therapy group (11, or 37 percent) met criteria for PTSD than patients in the cognitive restructuring group (19, or 63 percent), and 14 patients (47 percent) in the exposure group vs. four patients (13 percent) in the cognitive restructuring group achieved full remission.

"Despite some concerns that patients may not be able to manage the distress elicited by prolonged exposure, there was no difference in drop-out rates for the prolonged exposure and cognitive restructuring groups (17 percent vs. 23 percent)," the authors write. In addition, distress ratings were more significantly reduced in the exposure therapy group than the cognitive restructuring group after three sessions.

Exposure therapy may be more effective than cognitive restructuring because it eases the anxiety associated with the traumatic memory and corrects the belief that the memory must be avoided, in addition to encouraging self-control by managing the exposure exercise, the authors note. "The current findings suggest that direct activation of trauma memories is particularly useful for prevention of PTSD symptoms in patients with acute stress disorder," they conclude. "Exposure should be used in early intervention for people who are at high risk for developing PTSD."

This research was supported by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council Program, Canberra, Australia.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Richard A. Bryant; Julie Mastrodomenico; Kim L. Felmingham; Sally Hopwood; Lucy Kenny; Eva Kandris; Catherine Cahill; Mark Creamer. Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 2008;65(6):659-667 [link]

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Exposure Therapy May Help Prevent Post-traumatic Stress Disorder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080602160842.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2008, June 6). Exposure Therapy May Help Prevent Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080602160842.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Exposure Therapy May Help Prevent Post-traumatic Stress Disorder." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080602160842.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research Says Complex Tools Might Not Be 'Our Thing' Anymore

Research Says Complex Tools Might Not Be 'Our Thing' Anymore

Newsy (Apr. 21, 2015) The use of complex tools has often been seen as a defining characteristic of humanity, but that notion is now in question. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins