Psychological therapies improve life for children with post-traumatic stress disorder

December 11, 2012

Children suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of traumatic events, including child abuse, may benefit from psychological therapies, according to a review published in The Cochrane Library. In the first systematic review of PTSD in young people, researchers found that children and teenagers diagnosed with PTSD showed signs of improvement up to three months following treatment and called for more studies to assess long-term benefits.

People who develop PTSD have usually experienced extreme traumatic events, such as abuse, war or natural disasters. In children, PTSD can lead to delayed development and behavioural problems. More generally, it is associated with anxiety, depression and suicidal tendencies. As yet, there is no compelling evidence that prescribing drugs for PTSD works in children. A number of psychological therapies are available, including supportive counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which challenges negative thinking. However, no systematic review analysing the potential benefits of these therapies has been undertaken until now.

The review focused on 14 studies that together involved 758 children aged 3-18 suffering from PTSD due to sexual abuse, violence, road accidents or natural disasters. Most studies reported on the effects of weekly therapy sessions no longer than a month after treatment. Children who were given psychological therapies showed significant improvements, and anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms were reduced.

"There is fair evidence for the effectiveness of psychological therapies, particularly cognitive behavioural therapy, in treating post- traumatic stress disorder in children," said lead researcher Donna Gillies of the Western Sydney Local Health District in Westmead, Australia. "However, more effort needs to be devoted to increasing follow-up in children so we can understand whether these therapies are making a difference in the long-term."

Overall, no one type of treatment was more effective than any other, but the positive effects of CBT were backed up by better evidence. The researchers suggest that further studies address the effects of different psychological therapies, as well as any differences or additive effects of drug treatment compared to psychological therapies.

"More trials comparing the various psychological therapies are required to find out whether specific psychological therapies are more effective for the treatment of PTSD in children and adolescents," said Gillies.
-end-


Wiley

Related PTSD Articles from Brightsurf:

'Brain fog' following COVID-19 recovery may indicate PTSD
A new report suggests that lingering ''brain fog'' and other neurological symptoms after COVID -19 recovery may be due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an effect observed in past human coronavirus outbreaks such as SARS and MERS.

PTSD may double risk of dementia
People who have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are up to twice as likely to develop dementia later in life, according to a new study by UCL researchers, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

How building features impact veterans with PTSD
The built environment, where someone lives (private) or works (public), influences a person's daily life and can help, or hinder, their mental health.

Work-related PTSD in nurses
A recent Journal of Clinical Nursing analysis of published studies examined the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among nurses and identified factors associated with work-related PTSD among nurses.

PTSD and moral injury linked to pregnancy complications
Elevated symptoms of PTSD and moral injury can lead to pregnancy complications, found a Veterans Affairs study of women military veterans.

Early treatment for PTSD after a disaster has lasting effects
In 1988, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck near the northern Armenian city of Spitak.

Cyberbullying Linked to Increased Depression and PTSD
Cyberbullying had the impact of amplifying symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in young people who were inpatients at an adolescent psychiatric hospital, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Psychedelic drugs could help treat PTSD
Clinical trials suggest treatment that involves psychedelics can be more effective than psychotherapy alone.

Which is more effective for treating PTSD: Medication, or psychotherapy?
A systematic review and meta-analysis led by Jeffrey Sonis, MD, MPH, of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, finds there is insufficient evidence at present to answer that question.

Cannabis could help alleviate depression and suicidality among people with PTSD
Cannabis may be helping Canadians cope with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), new research suggests.

Read More: PTSD News and PTSD Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.