- Explain to interested patients that both cognitive therapy paradigms used in this study -- prolonged exposure and present-centered therapies -- were effective, but more women achieved complete remission with prolonged exposure therapy.
- Point out that the women in the study achieved benefit even through triggering events occurred more than 20 years before treatment.
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt., Feb. 28 -- For women soldiers being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, symptoms improve when the therapy homes in on the original index event, no matter how long ago it occurred, researchers here found.
Compared with therapy that aimed at coping with PTSD symptoms in daily life, women whose therapy focused on the past traumatic events reduced symptoms by more than 70% (effect size, 0.27, P=0.03), investigators reported in the Feb. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Moreover, the women who underwent "prolonged exposure" therapy were also about two-and-half times more likely to achieve total remission (15.2% versus 6.9%; odds ratio 2.43; 95% confidence interval, 1.10-5.37, P=0.01), said Paula P. Schnurr, Ph.D., of the National Center for PTSD at the VA Medical Center here, and colleagues.
The "maximum benefits of prolonged exposure are observed immediately after treatment and persist over time," she said.