March 18, 2009 (Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico) — Results from a small study suggests prolonged exposure therapy may benefit older veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Presented here at the Anxiety Disorders Association of America 2009 Annual Conference, the pilot study, which included 8 subjects, showed exposure therapy reduced symptoms of PTSD, including anxiety, depression, distress, and anger, and improved cognition.
Steven R. Thorp, PhD, from the University of San Diego, in California, told Medscape Psychiatry that he undertook this research after a literature search failed to turn up any studies on the use of psychotherapy in the treatment of PTSD in older adults.
He pointed out that although the current study includes only 8 patients, it is the largest of its kind to date.
Despite the lack of data, he said, "people have strong opinions about older adults being too frail or not being able to handle exposure therapies."