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Clinical Trial Examines the Use of Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD Treatment


Clinical trial finds that cognitive processing therapy is beneficial for treating PTSD

A clinical trial has explored the use of cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for the management of PTSD.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that affects people who have experienced a traumatic event. It can be caused by a wide range of events, such as natural disasters, accidents, or violence. The symptoms of PTSD can be severe and can include flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety. Fortunately, there are treatments available for PTSD, including Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), which is a form of talk therapy. It helps patients learn how to challenge and modify unhelpful beliefs related to the trauma. In so doing, the patients create a new understanding and conceptualization of the traumatic event so that it reduces its ongoing negative effects on their lives. However, a recent study has found that some people may experience a temporary increase in their PTSD symptoms while receiving CPT.

A clinical trial looked at the results of using CPT therapy for PTSD management with special emphasis on the exacerbation of symptoms at the start of the therapy.

The trial included 183 participants suffering from PTSD who received 12 sessions of CPT each. At the end of therapy, these participants were assessed for initial symptom worsening as well as other factors such as treatment completion rates.

The results of the clinical study showed that most participants (67.3%) experienced at least one temporary symptom increase during CPT. However, only 1.6% of the patients continued to have higher symptoms by the end of treatment.

The study found that some participants experienced temporary increases in their PTSD symptoms during the treatment period. However, the symptoms decreased over time, and overall, the participants experienced significant improvement in their PTSD symptoms.

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The trial also looked at potential predictors of the temporary increase in PTSD symptoms. The researchers found that depression, anxiety, substance use, and baseline PTSD symptom levels did not predict the temporary symptom increase in these patients.
Moreover, the temporary symptom increase did not cause treatment non-completion nor did it influence the post-treatment PTSD symptom levels.

The clinical trial's findings have important implications for the treatment of PTSD. First, it highlights the importance of carefully monitoring patients who are receiving CPT for a temporary increase in symptoms. Second, it suggests that the worsening of PTSD symptoms at the start of treatment should not prompt suspension of the therapy as these symptoms regress and do not affect the success rate of CPT.


In conclusion, the clinical trial provides valuable insights into the treatment of PTSD. While some people may experience a temporary increase in PTSD symptoms while receiving CPT, this does not mean that the treatment is not effective. Clinicians should carefully monitor patients for these increases in symptoms and reassure them of the transient nature of these exacerbations. Overall, CPT is an effective treatment for PTSD, and with careful management, it can help many people to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Psychology Trauma Journal, Jul-22

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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.