Behavioral activation for treatment of PTSD and depression in an Iraqi combat veteran with multiple physical injuries

Behav Cogn Psychother. 2010 May;38(3):355-61. doi: 10.1017/S1352465810000081. Epub 2010 Apr 7.


Background: Physical injury and psychological trauma associated with combat in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan frequently lead to a constellation of symptoms including pain, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression.

Method: This single case study describes the application of a behaviorally-based psychotherapy known as behavioral activation for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive symptoms in a recent combat veteran with multiple physical injuries sustained from a blast injury. Treatment was provided concurrently with other rehabilitation services and consisted of weekly individual sessions for 4 months, followed by monthly sessions for 4 months.

Results: Clinically significant reductions in PTSD and depressive symptoms were noted between baseline and 1 year follow-up.

Conclusion: Preliminary evidence from this case suggests that behavioral activation may be a promising treatment for PTSD and depression, and can be readily tailored to individuals with physical limitations such as pain and mobility restriction. Treatment can be provided in the context of concurrent interdisciplinary medical and rehabilitation care.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Iraq
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Veterans / psychology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology*
  • Young Adult