Title

Trauma-Focused Exposure Therapy for Chronic Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Alcohol and Drug Dependent Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Abstract

To test whether a modified version of prolonged exposure (mPE) can effectively treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in individuals with co-occurring PTSD and substance dependence, an efficacy trial was conducted in which substance dependent treatment-seekers with PTSD (N = 126, male = 54.0%, White = 79.4%) were randomly assigned to mPE, mPE + trauma-focused motivational enhancement session (mPE + MET-PTSD), or a health information-based control condition (HLS). All participants were multiply traumatized; the median number of reported traumas that satisfied DSM–IV Criterion A for PTSD was 8. Treatment consisted of 9–12 60-min individual therapy sessions plus substance abuse treatment-as-usual. Participants were assessed at baseline, end-of-treatment, and at 3- and 6-months posttreatment. Both the mPE and mPE + MET-PTSD conditions achieved significantly better PTSD outcome than the control condition. The mPE + MET-PTSD and mPE conditions did not differ from one another on PTSD symptoms at end of treatment, 3-, or 6-month follow-up. Substance use outcomes did not differ between groups with all groups achieving 85.7%–97.9% days abstinent at follow-up. In regard to clinically significant improvement in trauma symptoms, 75.8% of the mPE participants, 60.0% of the mPE + MET-PTSD participants, and 44.4% of the HLS participants experienced clinically significant improvement at the end-of-treatment. Results indicate mPE, with or without an MET-PTSD session, can effectively treat PTSD in patients with co-occurring PTSD and substance dependence. In addition, mPE session lengths may better suit standard clinical practice and are associated with medium effect sizes.

Department(s)

Psychological Science

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0893-164X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Citation

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2016 American Psychological Association, All rights reserved.

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