Psychological therapies for preventing post-traumatic stress disorder in children and adolescents

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Children and adolescents receiving psychological therapies were less likely to be diagnosed with PTSD and had fewer symptoms of PTSD up to a month after treatment compared with those who received no treatment, treatment as usual or were on a waiting list.

Children and adolescents who have experienced trauma are at high risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other negative psychological and social outcomes. The conclusion of this review is that children and adolescents receiving psychological therapies were less likely to be diagnosed with PTSD and had fewer symptoms of PTSD up to a month after treatment compared with those who received no treatment, treatment as usual or were on a waiting list. Our confidence in these findings is limited as the overall quality of evidence was very low to low. There was no evidence for the effectiveness of psychological therapies beyond one month. There was moderate quality evidence that cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) might be more effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD compared to other psychological therapies for up to a month. Adverse effects were not reported. There were no studies which compared psychological therapies to drug treatments.

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