Psychotherapy effective in treating PTSD after many traumatic events: Study

New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS): A team of researchers has said that psychotherapy is an effective treatment for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by exposure to repeated traumatic incidents.

In the study, published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, the team of researchers evaluated 137 empirical articles published over the past four decades on the treatment of PTSD in adults.

Germany-based University of Munster Professor Nexhmedin Morina said: “The data show that several psychological interventions are highly effective in treating PTSD following multiple traumatic events -- in fact, they are about as effective as when the PTSD follows a single trauma.”

He said that these findings had previously only been documented in the treatment of PTSD in children and adolescents.

“Now, this study indicates that it can also be used to treat PTSD in adults. This is very encouraging news for patients and therapists,” he said.

As per the study, around four per cent of the global population suffers from PTSD as a result of traumatic events.

The characteristic symptoms of PTSD include -- distressing intrusive traumatic memories, avoidance behaviour and difficulty with emotional regulation.

“Our data helps remove treatment barriers for patients with a history of multiple traumatic events,” said psychologist Dr Thole Hoppen at the University of Munster.

He said that in addition to patients’ fear of talking about their traumatic experiences, some psychotherapists hesitate to directly address traumatic experiences during treatment.

Hoppen also mentioned that trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy -- a type of psychotherapy that aids in the processing of painful memories -- is not only very effective according to the accumulated data but more effective than non-trauma-focused interventions.

Therefore, trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy is recommended as the first line of treatment in national and international guidelines, the study said.



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