Early interventions for the prevention of PTSD in adults: a systematic literature review


Arch. Clin. Psychiatry (São Paulo)




Abstract Background Secondary interventions are implemented within a short interval following the occurrence of traumatic events with the purpose of preventing the onset of PTSD. Objective Analyze the results of studies that assessed post-trauma interventions in adults aimed at preventing the onset of PTSD or symptoms related to PTSD. Methods We performed literature searches using the search expression [(Early intervention OR secondary prevention) AND (Post traumatic stress disorder OR PTSD)] for articles published until October 2016. Among the references found, 29 fulfilled the selection criteria established for the review. Data were divided and analyzed according to the type of intervention: pharmacological or psychological. Results Psychological measures used in the studies lack homogeneity regarding the type of intervention and the assessment of intervention outcomes. Pharmacological interventions were less frequent and findings require replication, together with an expansion in the types of substances investigated. In general, many of the studies reviewed suggest that both pharmacological and psychological interventions are effective in the prevention of PTSD. Discussion Future trials should be focused on determining the best interventions for the secondary prevention of PTSD. The combination of psychological and pharmacological interventions for post-trauma patients poses opportunities and challenges that remain unexplored.

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