An Analysis of the Effectiveness of Psychological and Critical Incident Stress Debriefings
The world in which we live today is an ever-changing, precarious environment. Many individuals, for these very reasons, experience stressful, life-altering incidents much more often than in the past. These experiences, transmitted more rapidly than ever thanks to newly discovered technologies, can harm an individual greatly, especially if hidden from expert analysis, and can provoke long-lasting psychological, emotional and even physical damage to an individual. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), for instance, is an umbrella term given to those individuals who have experienced traumatic or stress-inducing incidents, be they from military experiences or simply from a death in the family through some traumatic means. PTSD has been diagnosed as a disorder only recently, however, and many of the treatments that have been suggested as a means through which to deal with PTSD are still being tested. The two articles below examine whether, in fact, the treatments proposed by various studies have been effective in their scopes, and aim to answer how to better the means through which psychological and critical stress incident debriefings can be truly effective.
The first article is, in fact, a book review provided by the Guilford Press. The authors of this book aim to address, according to the review, the ever-changing treatment, and the effectiveness of treatment, dealing specifically with PTSD. These authors, in an updated edition of a previous version of the same book, thus analyze the challenges, interventions, and advances made in treating stress disorders with a specific focus on PTSD. The review claims that some of the interventions analyzed have been effective, and the book is well aimed in its revisions (Foa et. al., p.1). The strengths of the book are, for example, the fact that it focuses in depth on many of the studies that have been conducted concerning PTSD, and, furthermore, it examines the effect of traumatic stress on children and adolescents. The book also provides, as one of its strengths, a coding system, as follows:
“This system includes six classification levels, A through F, indicating the degree of empirical support for a particular treatment. Treatments with a classification of Level A have the highest rating (indicating that the evidence is based on well-controlled, randomized controlled trials for people with PTSD) and treatments with a classification of Level F have the lowest rating (indicating a newly developed treatment that has not been empirically or clinically studied in PTSD)” (Foa et. al., p.2).
In the second article, the reader is presented with a clear-cut study. This study, according to the very first mentions of aims of the research, claims to review the literature written “on the long-term pharmacological treatment” of PTSD (Davis et. al., p.465). The study thus examines everything from randomized, double blind, and placebo-controlled studies, to open label studies, retrospective case series, and pooled analyses (Davis et. al. p. 466). According to the authors, the background of the study stems from a need to examine whether various treatment are effective, which is the very aim of this paper. Thus, this study is quite appropriate, as well as a good supplement to the section examined above, that offered a similar, yet less specific approach. According to this paper, the studies examined “demonstrate that long-term treatment of PTSD with SSRIs effectively maintains the previous treatment response and improvement in quality of life, converts more patients to responder status and accounts for one-third of overall treatment gains” (Davis et. al., p.466). In addition to this treatment, paroxetine was found to be effective as well, especially in improving memory, and long-term treatment of PTSD, as examined, was successful with the prescription of various antipsychotics and antidepressents, and the authors concluded that this made significant improvements in PTSD symptoms (Davis et. al., p.474).
From the research analyzed above, it is clear that the treatment that have surfaced in recent years are effective in treating PTSD. Though both articles advocated for further research, they were both quite clear in stating that, in fact, previous treatments, especially those delineated in the second article above, were quite effective. The two articles, however, also differed in their approaches. This was because one was a review of a book, and the other was a study of previous research. For this reason, the first paper was quite vague when it came to actually describing the research conducted and what, specifically, would contribute to an improvement in PTSD symptoms. Yet the first article hinted at the same type of research principles, and findings, that the second article cemented through its thorough analysis. Thus, one can conclude by stating that there are, in fact, successful ways, especially in combining therapy with properly prescribed drugs, such as those mentioned above, through which PTSD can be combated. For this reason, this paper recommends both further research, but the application of such treatment as described throughout this essay to PTSD patients.
1. Foa, E.