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A cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) programme designed for
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in people with severe mental
illness, including breathing retraining, education and cognitive
restructuring, was shown to be more effective than usual services.
To evaluate the incremental benefit of adding cognitive restructuring to
the breathing retraining and education components of the CBT programme
(trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00494650).
In all, 201 people with severe mental illness and PTSD were randomised to
12- to 16-session CBT or a 3-session brief treatment programme (breathing
retraining and education). The primary outcome was PTSD symptom severity.
Secondary outcomes were PTSD diagnosis, other symptoms, functioning and
quality of life.
There was greater improvement in PTSD symptoms and functioning in the CBT
group than in the brief treatment group, with both groups improving on
other outcomes and effects maintained 1-year post-treatment.
Cognitive restructuring has a significant impact beyond breathing
retraining and education in the CBT programme, reducing PTSD symptoms and
improving functioning in people with severe mental illness.
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