Evidence base: Post-traumatic stress disorder

Keep up to date with the latest evidence for the management of post-traumatic stress disorder

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to be the most effective treatment (Photograph: SPL)
Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to be the most effective treatment (Photograph: SPL)

Systematic reviews

  • Bisson J, Andrew M. Psychological treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2007; (3): CD003388.
  • Weiss DS, Marmar CR. The Impact of Events Scale (revised). In: Wilson JP, Keane TM. Assessing psychological trauma in PTSD. New York, Guilford Press, 1997.
  • Committee on the treatment of PTSD. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Post traumatic stress disorder: An assessment of the evidence. Washington DC, National Academies Press, 2008.

This is a thorough review of all the international, key treatment trials. Each trial is described and critiqued and then an expert opinion is provided on current effectiveness of each class of intervention.

Pages 137 to 158 are particularly useful and the complete review is available free on the National Academies Press website (www.nap.edu/).


The management flow diagram in appendix 4 is very helpful.

  • NICE. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): The management of PTSD in adults and children in primary and secondary care. CG26. NICE, London, 2005.
  • Foa EB, Keane TM, Friedman M. Effective treatments for PTSD: Practice guidelines from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. New York, Guilford Press, 2000.

This topic is covered in the GP curriculum in statement 13: Care of people with mental health problems 

Mental health charity Mind has helpful information (www.mind.org.uk/help/ diagnoses_and_conditions/post-traumatic_stress_disorder).

Contributed by Professor Robin Davidson, consultant clinical psychologist and joint chairman of the Guidelines and Audit Implementation Network


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