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The utilisation of massed therapy for treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is gaining strength, especially prolonged exposure. However, it is unknown whether massed prolonged exposure (MPE) is non-inferior to standard prolonged exposure (SPE) protocols in the long term. The current study aimed to assess whether MPE was non-inferior to SPE at 12 months post-treatment, and to ascertain changes in secondary measure outcomes.
A multi-site non-inferiority randomised controlled trial (RCT) compared SPE with MPE in 12 clinics. The primary outcome was PTSD symptom severity (CAPS-5) at 12 months post-treatment commencement. Secondary outcome measures included symptoms of depression, anxiety, anger, disability, and quality of life at 12 weeks and 12 months post-treatment commencement. Outcome assessors were blinded to treatment allocation. The intention-to-treat sample included 138 Australian military members and veterans and data were analysed for 134 participants (SPE = 71, MPE = 63).
Reductions in PTSD severity were maintained at 12 months and MPE remained non-inferior to SPE. Both treatment groups experienced a reduction in depression, anxiety, anger, and improvements in quality of life at 12 weeks and 12 months post-treatment commencement. Treatment effects for self-reported disability in the SPE group at 12 weeks were not maintained, with neither group registering significant effects at 12 months.
The emergence of massed protocols for PTSD is an important advancement. The current study provides RCT evidence for the longevity of MPE treatment gains at 12 months post-treatment commencement and demonstrated non-inferiority to SPE. Promisingly, both treatments also significantly reduced the severity of comorbid symptoms commonly occurring alongside PTSD.
A short, effective therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could decrease barriers to implementation and uptake, reduce dropout, and ameliorate distressing symptoms in military personnel and veterans. This non-inferiority RCT evaluated the efficacy of 2-week massed prolonged exposure (MPE) therapy compared to standard 10-week prolonged exposure (SPE), the current gold standard treatment, in reducing PTSD severity in both active serving and veterans in a real-world health service system.
This single-blinded multi-site non-inferiority RCT took place in 12 health clinics across Australia. The primary outcome was PTSD symptom severity measured by the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5) at 12 weeks. 138 military personnel and veterans with PTSD were randomised. 71 participants were allocated to SPE, with 63 allocated to MPE.
The intention-to-treat sample included 138 participants, data were analysed for 134 participants (88.1% male, M = 46 years). The difference between the mean MPE and SPE group PTSD scores from baseline to 12 weeks-post therapy was 0.94 [95% confidence interval (CI) −4.19 to +6.07]. The upper endpoint of the 95% CI was below +7, indicating MPE was non-inferior to SPE. Significant rates of loss of PTSD diagnosis were found for both groups (MPE 53.8%, SPE 54.1%). Dropout rates were 4.8% (MPE) and 16.9% (SPE).
MPE was non-inferior to SPE in significantly reducing symptoms of PTSD. Significant reductions in symptom severity, low dropout rates, and loss of diagnosis indicate MPE is a feasible, accessible, and effective treatment. Findings demonstrate novel methods to deliver gold-standard treatments for PTSD should be routinely considered.
Little is known about the change processes in gambling disorder-specific cognitive therapy (CT) and exposure therapy (ET). These therapies are underpinned by the cognitive approach (i.e., restructuring gambling cognitions) and the psychobiological approach (i.e., elimination of gambling urges) to treating problem gambling. Here, piecewise-linear modelling is used in a secondary analysis of randomised trial data for a CT group (n = 44) versus an ET group (n = 43) with the aim to open a discourse on how individuals respond to CT and ET relative to theory. Measures were administered between therapy sessions (average = 6.2 per individual) across 18 weeks for gambling urge (GUS) and gambling cognitions (GRCS). Results indicated the ET group had a stronger reduction in GUS (p < .01) in the first 4 weeks of treatment. Between 4–12 weeks, improvement in GUS (p < .01) and GRCS (p = .02) was more rapid in the CT group. Both groups experienced comparable improvements from 12–18 weeks. These findings have implications for further treatment development, including a combined cognitive and exposure approach that is flexibly adapted to the patient. A larger trial is needed to formally establish change processes and identify differences in problem gambler subgroups. This would provide therapists capacity to offer each patient a clear direction and an expedited pathway to their preferred outcome.
Aims: Problem or pathological gambling is associated with significant disruption to the individual, family and community with a range of adverse outcomes, including legal, financial and mental health impairment. It occurs more frequently in younger populations, and comorbid conditions are common. Cognitive–behaviour therapy (CBT) is the most empirically established class of treatments for problematic gambling. This article reports on a systematic review and evaluation of randomised clinical trials (RCTs) concerning two core techniques of CBT: cognitive and behavioural (exposure-based) therapies. Methods: PsycINFO, MEDLINE and the Cochrane library were searched from database inception to December 2012. The CONsolidated Standards Of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) for non-pharmacological treatments was used to evaluate each study. Results: The initial search identified 104 references. After two screening phases, seven RCTs evaluating either cognitive (n = 3), exposure (n = 3) or both (n = 1) interventions remained. The studies were published between 1983 and 2003 and conducted across Australia, Canada, and Spain. On average, approximately 31% of CONSORT items were rated as ‘absent’ for each study and more than 52% rated as ‘present with some limitations’. For all studies, 70.83% of items rated as ‘absent’ were in the methods section. Conclusions: The findings from this review of randomised clinical trials involving cognitive and exposure-based treatments for gambling disorders show that the current evidence base is limited. Trials with low risk of bias are needed to be reported before recommendations are given on their effectiveness and clinicians can appraise their potential utility with confidence.
Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is considered the number one non-pharmacological treatment for a number of mental and psychological disorders (Tolin, 2010; Stuhlmiller & Tolchard, 2009). While CBT with problem gamblers has shown promise, the quality of the research in this area is lacking. One area of concern is that across the many trials and reports using CBT with gamblers no single unified approach has been used and so comparison across studies is limited. Similarly, translation of the CBT research into clinical practice is almost entirely absent (Walker, 2005). This article will explore the concepts of CBT with problem gamblers and identify common elements across all reported approaches. A unified model of CBT with problem gamblers will be suggested and the direct clinical application of this model described from a state-wide gambling service in Australia (Flinders Approach) with 205 problem gamblers. The results indicate that the Flinders Approach is successful in treating gamblers considered to be at the severest end of the experience, with a 69% completion rate. Implications for future research in which this model may be tested against other therapies and pharmacological treatments will be discussed.
There is a paucity of treatment-outcome research for problem or pathological gambling. Single-session exposure therapy has been used successfully with a broad range of psychological disorders such as panic disorder and the phobias. This article will describe the use of single-session graded exposure to treat problem gambling with an Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) gambler. Pretreatment to 6-month follow-up repeated measures showed a significant reduction in client-rated gambling severity, that is, showed a significant reduction in client-rated gambling severity (Gambling Severity Checklist [GSCL]), the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). This case demonstrates a novel intervention which is brief, convenient and accessible to the client, and which resulted in gains maintained over the medium-term. This promising single case indicates the need for further research to determine whether positive benefits are realised in larger randomised control designs.
This article describes a case study that demonstrates an innovative combination of predominantly behavioural techniques in the treatment of trichotillomania (TTM) preceded by social phobia. Outcomes are reported to 4-year follow-up. A master's qualified cognitive–behavioural nurse therapist administered the course of treatment over 1 year and followed the client for 4 years. A combination of exposure and response prevention, habit reversal and serial photography for TTM urges, exposure for social phobia, cognitive restructuring and problem solving were utilised. These treatments were provided sequentially and concurrently. Pre and posttreatment and repeated outcome measures were applied in three domains. The client received a total of 23 treatment sessions over 1 year and follow-up over 4 years. During treatment, discharge and follow-up improved outcomes in TTM and social phobia were achieved and maintained at 4 years. Benefits accrued beyond the presenting conditions to have a major positive impact on the client's life. Theoretical implications for the classification of TTM are discussed.
A study of 50 opiate addicts attending a London service for treatment of drug dependence found that 47 subjects had previously made at least one attempt at self-detoxification. These subjects reported 212 previous attempts. Although 30 subjects reported having managed to complete at least one attempt, the success rate per episode was low (24%). One of the most commonly reported methods, used by 28 subjects, involved an abrupt cessation of opiates (‘cold turkey’). Of the drugs used in their attempts at self-detoxification, benzodiazepines were reported by 24 subjects and opiates by 20. Practical strategies such as distraction and avoidance were also used. Self-help detoxification materials for opiate addicts might be useful.