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Early Interv Psychiatry. 2007 Feb;1(1):19-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7893.2007.00006.x.

Early intervention for post-traumatic stress disorder.

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School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.



The potentially debilitating effect of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has created much interest in early intervention strategies that can reduce PTSD. This review critiques the evidence for psychological debriefing approaches and alternate early intervention strategies.


The review critiques the randomized controlled trials of psychological debriefing, and early provision of cognitive behavior therapy. The latter approach involves therapy attention on acutely traumatized individuals who are high risk for PTSD development, and particularly in people with acute stress disorder (ASD).


Psychological debriefing does not prevent PTSD. Cognitive behaviour therapy strategies have proven efficacy in reducing subsequent PTSD in ASD populations.


Despite the promising evidence for early provision of CBT, many people do not benefit from CBT. This review concludes with consideration of major challenges facing early intervention approaches in the context of terrorist attacks and mass disasters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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