Who We Help
DBT for PTSD
DBT has been researched and proven effective to treat people with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
- At least one re-experiencing symptom
- At least one avoidance symptom
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms
Re-experiencing symptoms include:
- Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
- Bad dreams
- Frightening thoughts
Avoidance symptoms include:
- Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
- Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
Arousal and reactivity symptoms include:
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or “on edge”
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having angry outbursts
Cognition and mood symptoms include:
- Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
- Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
- Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
3.5% of the adult population have PTSD. 36.6% of these cases (1.3%) are considered to be severe. (NIMH).
The studies found DBT plus the protocol of Prolonged Exposure to be very effective, more effective than DBT as a stand alone treatment.
In Sciene Direct, April 2014, a study was published by Melanie S. Harned, , Kathryn E. Korslund, and Marsha M. Linehan. The findings were that compared to DBT alone, DBT plus Prolonged Exposure led to larger and more stable improvements in PTSD. It doubled the remission rate among treatment completers (80% vs. 40%). Patients who completed the DBT PE protocol were 2.4 times less likely to attempt suicide and 1.5 times less likely to self-injure than those in DBT. Among treatment completers, it helped dissociation, trauma-related guilt cognitions, shame, anxiety, depression, and global functioning.
At Awake DBT, we offer DBT plus Prolonged Exposure for those with PTSD. For those who want to treat the trauma, we individualize the treatment plan and timing that is effective with the integration of DBT skills.