A new study published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders finds that treating PTSD with a therapist can help reduce symptoms and help people manage their anxiety.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that the treatment was effective for treating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and for managing depression.
“We found that a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and a combination group therapy that is tailored to individual patients’ needs is the most effective treatment for PTSD and depression in patients with PTSD and a treatment that is not only safe and effective but also very effective in reducing anxiety,” study researcher Dr. Sarah Matson said in a press release.
The study was conducted by Matson and her colleagues, who focused on a group of participants who were all dealing with PTSD.
They recruited and evaluated a total of 541 participants.
The researchers found that patients who received a combination therapy for PTSD (anxiety and stress reduction, psychodynamic behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and interpersonal therapy) and a non-treatment intervention (psychological and social skills training) showed a significant reduction in their symptoms and in their anxiety and depression scores.
For the study, the researchers recruited participants from a mental health clinic in the area of Chicago.
They found that, compared to those who received both treatment groups, the patients who had received a combined therapy for PTSD and depression also had lower levels of symptoms and were less anxious.
The results showed that the combined therapy helped participants to decrease their symptoms in two ways: it reduced their anxiety by about one third, and it reduced the amount of anxiety they had.
“These findings suggest that the combination of psychological treatment and interpersonal psychotherapy is a promising treatment option for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder,” Matson explained in the release.
“However, there is a need to continue to study the efficacy of the combination therapy in individuals with PTSDs and depression.
There are also challenges in obtaining such a therapy in the United States due to its expensive, difficult to access and costly to obtain.
We are working on a protocol that will allow for a larger number of patients to be treated in this setting,” she said.
This is the first time that researchers have looked at the impact of a combination treatment on PTSD and its related conditions.
Researchers also found that participants who received the combined treatment showed significant improvement in their depression scores after six months.
The treatment was successful for treating PTSD symptoms in both men and women.
“The study is promising because it demonstrates that the therapeutic intervention may be particularly effective in patients who are struggling with PTSD symptoms and who are at high risk for developing PTSD,” Minson said.
The authors concluded that combining the combined treatments was effective in decreasing symptoms and anxiety in individuals who were at high-risk for developing PTS symptoms, which can affect nearly one in three American adults.
“While this study provides a possible mechanism by which a combination intervention can reduce symptoms of PTSD and affect anxiety and depressive symptoms, more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of this treatment in this population,” M Watson said.