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Prolonged exposure therapy found beneficial in treating adolescent girls with PTSD

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Posted December 27, 2013

Researchers at Penn Medicine report in the December 25 issue of JAMA that a modified form of prolonged exposure therapy – in which patients revisit and recount aloud their trauma-related thoughts, feelings and situations – shows greater success than supportive counseling for treating adolescent PTSD patients who have been sexually abused.

Despite a high prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adolescents, evidence-based treatments like prolonged exposure therapy for PTSD in this population have never been established.

“We hypothesized that prolonged exposure therapy could fill this gap and were eager to test its ability to provide benefit for adolescent patients,” says Edna Foa, PhD, professor of Clinical Psychology in the department of Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who developed prolonged exposure therapy.

The concern has been that prolonged exposure therapy, while the most established evidence-based treatment for adults with PTSD, could exacerbate PTSD symptoms in adolescent patients who have not mastered the coping skills necessary for this type of exposure to be safely provided.

Read more at: MedicalXpress

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