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The effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy with respect to psychological symptoms and recovering autobiographical memory in patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder

Authors Akbarian F, Bajoghli H, Haghighi M, Kalak N, Holsboer-Trachsler E, Brand S

Received 19 December 2014

Accepted for publication 9 January 2015

Published 19 February 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 395—404

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S79581

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Fatemehsadat Akbarian,1 Hafez Bajoghli,2,3 Mohammad Haghighi,4 Nadeem Kalak,5 Edith Holsboer-Trachsler,5 Serge Brand5,6

1Psychology and Counseling Organization of Iran, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran; 2Iranian National Center for Addiction Studies (INCAS), Iranian Institute for Reduction of High-Risk Behaviors, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; 3ASEAN Institute for Health Development, Mahidol University, Nakhonpathom, Thailand; 4Research Center for Behavioral Disorders and Substances Abuse, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran; 5Center for Affective, Stress and Sleep Disorders, Psychiatric Clinics of the University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; 6Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, Sport Science Section, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Objectives: Given the persistence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its major impact on everyday life, it is important to identify effective treatments. In additional to pharmacological treatments, psychotherapeutic treatments are also highly effective. The aim of the present study was to investigate, among a sample of patients suffering from PTSD, the influence of an additional cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention on their symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety, and on autobiographical memory.
Methods: A total of 40 patients suffering from PTSD (mean age: 31.64 years; 78.6% female patients) and under psychopharmacological treatment were randomly assigned to an intervention or control condition. The intervention consisted of ten group sessions (one 60–90 minute session per week) of CBT. At baseline and 10 weeks later, a series of self-rating and experts’-rating questionnaires were completed.
Results: Over time, symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety decreased; however, greater improvement was observed in the experimental than the control condition. Likewise, as a general pattern of results, memory performance improved over time, though again this improvement was greater in the experimental condition.
Conclusion: Compared to a control condition, additional CBT improves the treatment of PTSD, with respect to both symptoms and autobiographical memory.

Keywords: anxiety, depression, PTSD, autobiographical memory


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