Reductions in pain, depression, and anxiety symptoms after PTSD remediation in veterans

Explore (NY). 2014 May-Jun;10(3):162-9. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2014.02.005. Epub 2014 Feb 26.

Abstract

A randomized controlled trial of veterans with clinical levels of PTSD symptoms found significant improvements after Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). Although pain, depression, and anxiety were not the primary targets of treatment, significant improvements in these conditions were noted. Subjects (N = 59) received six sessions of EFT coaching supplementary to primary care. They were assessed using the SA-45, which measures nine mental health symptom domains and also has two general scales measuring the breadth and depth of psychological distress. Anxiety and depression both reduced significantly, as did the breadth and depth of psychological symptoms. Pain decreased significantly during the intervention period (-41%, p < .0001). Subjects were followed up at three and six months, revealing significant relationships between PTSD, depression, and anxiety at several assessment points. At follow-up, pain remained significantly lower than at pretest. The results of this study are consistent with other reports showing that, as PTSD symptoms are reduced, general mental health improves, and pain levels drop. The ability of EFT to produce reliable and long-term gains after relatively brief interventions indicates its utility in reducing the estimated trillion-dollar cost of treating veteran mental health disorders in the coming years.

Keywords: Anxiety; EFT (emotional freedom techniques); depression; pain; veterans.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Veterans / psychology*