Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Psychiatry, 08 March 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00011

Brief treatment of co-occurring post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms by use of accelerated resolution therapy®

Kevin E. Kip1*, Kelly L. Sullivan1, Cecile A. Lengacher1, Laney Rosenzweig1, Diego F. Hernandez2, Rajendra Kadel1, Frank A. Kozel3, Amy Shuman4, Sue Ann Girling1, Marian J. Hardwick1 and David M. Diamond5,6,7
  • 1College of Nursing, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA
  • 2Balanced Living Psychology, Tampa, FL, USA
  • 3Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA
  • 4Western New England University, Springfield, MA, USA
  • 5Research and Development Service, Veterans Affairs Hospital, Tampa, FL, USA
  • 6Department of Psychology, Center for Preclinical and Clinical Research on PTSD, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA
  • 7Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, Center for Preclinical and Clinical Research on PTSD, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA

This uncontrolled prospective cohort study evaluated the use of accelerated resolution therapy (ART) for treatment of comorbid symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder. Twenty-eight adult subjects, mean age of 41 years (79% female, 36% Hispanic), received a mean of 3.7 ± 1.1 ART treatment sessions (range 1–5). ART is a new exposure-based psychotherapy that makes use of eye movements. Subjects completed a range of self-report psychological measures before and after treatment with ART including the 17-item PCL-C checklist (symptoms of PTSD) and 20-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). For the PCL-C, the pre-ART mean (±standard deviation) was 62.5 (8.8) with mean reductions of −29.6 (12.5), −30.1 (13.1), and −31.4 (14.04) at post-ART, 2-month, and 4-month follow-up, respectively (p < 0.0001 for comparisons to pre-ART score). Compared to pre-ART status, this corresponded to standardized effect sizes of 2.37, 2.30, and 3.01, respectively. For the CES-D, the pre-ART mean was 35.1 (8.8) with mean reductions of −20.6 (11.0), −18.1 (11.5), and −15.6 (14.4) at post-ART, 2-month, and 4-month follow-up, respectively (p ≤ 0.0001 compared to Pre-ART score). This corresponded to standardized effect sizes of 1.88, 1.58, and 1.09, respectively. Strong correlations were observed at 2-month and 4-month follow-up for post-treatment changes in PTSD and depression symptom scores (r = 0.79, r = 0.76, respectively, p ≤ 0.0002). No serious treatment-related adverse effects were reported. In summary, ART appears to be a promising brief, safe, and effective treatment for adults with clinically significant comorbid symptoms of PTSD and depression. Future controlled and mechanistic studies with this emerging therapy are warranted, particularly given its short treatment duration, and in light of current heightened emphasis on health care cost constraints.

Keywords: psychological trauma, PTSD, depression, exposure therapy, eye movements, brief treatment

Citation: Kip KE, Sullivan KL, Lengacher CA, Rosenzweig L, Hernandez DF, Kadel R, Kozel FA, Shuman A, Girling SA, Hardwick MJ and Diamond DM (2013) Brief treatment of co-occurring post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms by use of accelerated resolution therapy®. Front. Psychiatry 4:11. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00011

Received: 30 August 2012; Accepted: 22 February 2013;
Published online: 08 March 2013.

Edited by:

Indrani Halder, University of Pittsburgh, USA

Reviewed by:

Dusan Kolar, Queen’s University, Canada
Beth Cohen, University of California San Francisco, USA
Anne Germain, University of Pittsburgh, USA

Copyright: © 2013 Kip, Sullivan, Lengacher, Rosenzweig, Hernandez, Kadel, Kozel, Shuman, Girling, Hardwick and Diamond. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Kevin E. Kip, College of Nursing, University of South Florida, MDC 22, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, Tampa, FL 33612-4476, USA. e-mail: kkip@health.usf.edu