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Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2014 May 7;5. doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v5.24066. eCollection 2014.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy for treatment of pain secondary to symptoms of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder.

Author information

1
College of Nursing, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA.
2
Western New England University, Springfield, MA, USA.
3
Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA ; Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, Center for Preclinical/Clinical Research on PTSD, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA.
4
Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA.
5
PieWiseLiving, LLC, Tampa, FL, USA.
6
Pasco County Veterans Service Office, Port Richey, FL, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

As many as 70% of veterans with chronic pain treated within the US Veterans Administration (VA) system may have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and conversely, up to 80% of those with PTSD may have pain. We describe pain experienced by US service members and veterans with symptoms of PTSD, and report on the effect of Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), a new, brief exposure-based therapy, on acute pain reduction secondary to treatment of symptoms of PTSD.

METHODS:

A randomized controlled trial of ART versus an attention control (AC) regimen was conducted among 45 US service members/veterans with symptoms of combat-related PTSD. Participants received a mean of 3.7 sessions of ART.

RESULTS:

Mean age was 41.0 + 12.4 years and 20% were female. Most veterans (93%) reported pain. The majority (78%) used descriptive terms indicative of neuropathic pain, with 29% reporting symptoms of a concussion or feeling dazed. Mean pre-/post-change on the Pain Outcomes Questionnaire (POQ) was -16.9±16.6 in the ART group versus -0.7±14.2 in the AC group (p=0.0006). Among POQ subscales, treatment effects with ART were reported for pain intensity (effect size = 1.81, p=0.006), pain-related impairment in mobility (effect size = 0.69, p=0.01), and negative affect (effect size = 1.01, p=0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Veterans with symptoms of combat-related PTSD have a high prevalence of significant pain, including neuropathic pain. Brief treatment of symptoms of combat-related PTSD among veterans by use of ART appears to acutely reduce concomitant pain.

KEYWORDS:

PTSD; Psychological trauma; clinical trials; combat; exposure therapy; eye movements; imagery rescripting; pain; prevalence; psychotherapy

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