The effect of intensive treatment (Exposure and EMDR) on PTSD among veterans
Prooijen, D.L. van
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Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) benefit less from PTSD treatment than civilians with PTSD. To optimize treatment gain for veterans with PTSD, improvement of therapy is necessary. This study examined the effect of intensive treatment, consisting of prolonged exposure (PE), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, psychoeducation and physical exercise, on PTSD symptoms among veterans. Within a two-week period, 708 participants received 16 trauma focused sessions. Veteran cases were matched with civilian cases based on pretreatment PTSD severity. This resulted in a total of 96 participants (64% male; mean age = 40.25 years, SD = 11.13). PSTD severity was measured using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) IV and 5 and the PTSD Symptom Scale Self Report (PSS-SR). A significant decrease in PTSD symptoms was found for veterans. Moreover, there was no significant difference in treatment gain between the veteran and civilian group and pretreatment PTSD severity did not predict treatment gain among veterans. In conclusion, intensive therapy consisting of PE, EMDR, psychoeducation and physical exercise is effective for veterans suffering from PTSD. Veterans and civilians benefit equally from intensive treatment and pretreatment PTSD severity does not influence treatment gain among veterans.