Intensive Outpatient Prolonged Exposure for Combat-Related PTSD: A Case Study

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The prevalence rates for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in U.S. military personnel returning from deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan indicate a significant demand for efficacious treatments that can be delivered in military-relevant formats. According to research with civilian and veteran populations, prolonged exposure is a first-line treatment for PTSD. However, research examining the generalizibility of prolonged exposure to active-duty military service members is scarce. Modifications to the standard prolonged exposure protocol may be required to meet military operational needs and to circumvent unique treatment barriers associated with the military. Intensive outpatient or compressed treatment delivered over a short time period has the potential for significant operational utility for active-duty military populations. Intensive outpatient practice formats have been found to be efficacious for the treatment of other anxiety disorders (i.e., specific phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder). The present case report is the first to evaluate the use of intensive outpatient prolonged exposure for combat-related PTSD in an active-duty military service member. Treatment consisted of 10 full-day outpatient sessions over a 2-week period. The patient's PTSD, depression, and anxiety were dramatically reduced by the end of treatment, and she no longer met diagnostic criteria for PTSD. She remained in full remission at the 6-month follow-up.



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