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Effectiveness of an intensive treatment programme combining prolonged exposure and EMDR therapy for adolescents suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder

van Pelt, Y., Fokkema, P., de Roos, C. and de Jongh, Ad (2021) Effectiveness of an intensive treatment programme combining prolonged exposure and EMDR therapy for adolescents suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 12 (1). 1917876,. ISSN 2000-8066

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Abstract

Background: Following promising effects of an intensive trauma treatment for adults, the question arises whether adolescents who suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also profit from a similar treatment programme.

Objective: To assess the effectiveness of an intensive trauma-focused treatment programme combining two evidence-based trauma-focused therapies and physical activities for adolescents suffering from severe PTSD.

Method: Treatment consisted of daily sessions of prolonged exposure (PE) therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy supplemented with physical activity (13 days on average). All patients (N = 27; 96.3% women, mean age = 16.1 years; SD = 1.3) had been exposed to one or more (interpersonal) traumatic events. Twenty-two of them (81.5%) also fulfilled the diagnostic criteria of a comorbid psychiatric disorder (mean number of comorbid disorders = 2.22). The majority of patients were referred because previous treatment was difficult or complications were expected to occur. Severity of PTSD symptoms and presence of a PTSD diagnostic status were assessed using the Dutch version of the CAPS-CA IV at baseline, post-treatment and at 3-month follow-up.

Results: CAPS-CA IV scores decreased significantly from pre- to post-treatment (Cohen’s d = 1.39). Of all patients 81.5% (n = 22) showed a clinically meaningful response, of whom 63% (n = 17) no longer fulfilled the diagnostic criteria of PTSD at post-treatment as established with the CAPS-CA IV. The results were maintained at 3-month follow-up. During treatment, neither adverse events nor dropout occurred.

Conclusions: The results suggest that an intensive trauma-focused treatment programme combining prolonged exposure, EMDR therapy, and physical activity can be an effective and safe treatment for adolescents suffering from severe PTSD and multiple comorbid psychiatric disorders.

HIGHLIGHTS
The first study that investigated the effects of an intensive trauma-focused treatment programme combining prolonged exposure, EMDR therapy and physical activity for adolescents.

No adverse events nor dropout occurred during treatment.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which
permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The full-text of the published article can be accessed via the Official URL.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: PTSD, adolescents, intensive trauma-focused treatments, prolonged exposure, EMDR, physical activity
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
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Copyright Info: Open Access Journal
Depositing User: Janet Davidson
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2021 09:23
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2021 09:23
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/10589

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