Clinicians are often worried about their clients dropping out of therapy when they are treating trauma. Are the dropout rates for PTSD therapy worse than for other problems? The research seems to suggest that they are not.
A meta-analysis led by investigators at the University of Texas examined dropout from 115 studies of cognitive behavioral therapy for PTSD or other psychiatric conditions (i.e., depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, psychotic disorders, and substance use disorders). Investigators calculated pretreatment dropout (dropout after agreeing to treatment but before session 1) and treatment dropout (dropout after session 1) separately. For all disorders, more participants dropped out during the treatment phase than the pretreatment phase, although dropout varied by diagnosis. Treatment dropout ranged from 19.6% (anxiety disorders) to 36.4% (depression and substance use disorders), with PTSD in the middle of the range at (27.2%).
Goetter, E. M., Bui, E., Ojserkis, R. A., Zakarian, R. J., Brendel, R. W., & Simon, N. M. (2015).
A systematic review of dropout from psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder among Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans.
Journal of Traumatic Stress, 28,401-409.
PILOTS ID: 44452