Efficacy of Fifteen Emerging Interventions for the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Systematic Review

J Trauma Stress. 2016 Feb;29(1):88-92. doi: 10.1002/jts.22070. Epub 2016 Jan 7.


Although there is an abundance of novel interventions for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), often their efficacy remains unknown. This systematic review assessed the evidence for 15 new or novel interventions for the treatment of PTSD. Studies that investigated changes to PTSD symptoms following the delivery of any 1 of the 15 interventions of interest were identified through systematic literature searches. There were 19 studies that met the inclusion criteria for this study. Eligible studies were assessed against methodological quality criteria and data were extracted. The majority of the 19 studies were of poor quality, hampered by methodological limitations, such as small sample sizes and lack of control group. There were 4 interventions, however, stemming from a mind-body philosophy (acupuncture, emotional freedom technique, mantra-based meditation, and yoga) that had moderate quality evidence from mostly small- to moderate-sized randomized controlled trials. The active components, however, of these promising emerging interventions and how they related to or were distinct from established treatments remain unclear. The majority of emerging interventions for the treatment of PTSD currently have an insufficient level of evidence supporting their efficacy, despite their increasing popularity. Further well-designed controlled trials of emerging interventions for PTSD are required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Humans
  • Meditation
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Yoga