Psychological therapies for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in children and adolescents

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Evidence suggests that psychological therapies, particularly CBT, are effective for the treatment of PTSD in children and adolescents up to a month following treatment. More evidence is required for the effectiveness of psychological therapies in the longer term and to be able to compare the effectiveness of one psychological therapy to another.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is highly prevalent in children and adolescents who have experienced trauma and has high personal and health costs. The aim of this review was to examine the effectiveness of all psychological therapies for the treatment of PTSD in children and adolescents. Within this review, 14 randomised controlled trials (758 participants) were identified. These trials compared psychological therapies to a control, other psychological therapies, and meditation for the treatment of PTSD in youths aged 3 to 18 years. The types of trauma related to the PTSD were sexual abuse, civil violence, natural disaster, domestic violence and motor vehicle accidents. The psychological therapies used in the included studies were cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), exposure-based, psychodynamic, narrative, supportive counselling, and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR).

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