A community-based trauma-focused therapy could be quite effective in treating children affected by post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), US research shows.
Pittsburgh scientists sought to evaluate community-provided trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy (TF-CBT) compared with usual community treatment for children with intimate partner violence (IPV)-related post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
Each year approximately five million children in the United States are exposed to some form of traumatic event, and nearly 40% of these children will go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There are a number of traumatic events that have been shown to cause PTSD in children, including natural disaster, physical or sexual abuse, loss of a loved one, and witnessing an act of violence.
Children with PTSD may experience persistent generalized fear and anxiety, recurrent nightmares, mood swings, withdrawal, and depression. If left untreated, PTSD can cause serious distress for those affected, resulting in emotional, academic, and social problems.
Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), a form of psychotherapy that focuses on trauma, may be the most effective means of improving PTSD screening and treatment in community-based mental health services, it has been suggested and that was what the researchers tried to find out.
Recruitment, screening, and treatment were conducted at a community intimate partner violence (IPV) center. Children in the age group of 7- to 14-years were the participants. Children and mothers were randomly assigned to receive eight sessions of trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy (TF-CBT) or usual care (child-centered therapy).
Superior outcomes for TF-CBT completers were reported. They experienced significantly greater PTSD diagnostic remission and had significantly fewer serious adverse events.
Hence community TF-CBT effectively improves children's IPV-related PTSD and anxiety, the authors concluded in the findings published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Judith A. Cohen, MD and Anthony P. Mannarino, PhD of the Department of Psychiatry, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Satish Iyengar, PhD of the Statistics Department, University of Pittsburgh, collaborated in the study.