Cognitive-Behavioral Couple Therapy Reduces PTSD Severity

And, integrated treatment for PTSD and substance dependence reduces PTSD symptom severity

TUESDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- For posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy reduces symptom severity and increases intimate relationship satisfaction; and Concurrent Treatment of PTSD and Substance Use Disorders Using Prolonged Exposure (COPE) combined with usual treatment for substance dependence reduces PTSD symptom severity, according to two studies published the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Candice M. Monson, Ph.D., from Ryerson University in Toronto, and colleagues compared 15 sessions of cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy (manualized therapy for patients and their significant others to treat symptoms and enhance relationship satisfaction) for PTSD, with a wait-list condition, in a randomized trial involving 40 couples. The researchers noted a significantly greater reduction in PTSD symptom severity for couple therapy versus the wait-list condition. Patients' intimate relationship satisfaction also improved more with the couple therapy versus wait-list condition. At three-month follow-up, treatment effects were maintained.

Katherine L. Mills, Ph.D., from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues compared an integrated treatment for PTSD and substance dependence, COPE, consisting of 13 individualized 90-minute treatment sessions with a clinical psychologist, along with usual treatment for substance dependence, in a randomized controlled trial involving 103 participants with PTSD and substance dependence. A total of 55 participants received COPE plus usual treatment and 48 received usual treatment alone. The researchers found that both groups experienced a significant reduction in PTSD symptom severity from baseline to nine-month follow-up, but the difference was significantly greater in the COPE plus usual treatment group.

"The COPE treatment was found to be efficacious in reducing PTSD symptom severity when combined with usual treatment," Mills and colleagues write.

Several authors of the first study have published books on PTSD and its treatment, including cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy, for which they receive royalties/income.

Abstract - Monson
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Abstract - Mills
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