A Pilot Study of the Therapeutic Benefit of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Psychotherapy in Major Depressive Disorder Associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder -

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Soontaree Srikosai
Chadaporn Khamfou
Anongporn Thakham
Jeerawan Wongmueang
Kantima Thippunya
Uraiwan Wongpothi
Praew Tailangkha
Petchara Methaanunkul


Objective :  To investigate the therapeutic benefit of the EMDR psychotherapy in treating MDD associated with PTSD.

Methods :  We performed a pilot study by using the standard EMDR psychotherapy in subjects with MDD associated with PTSD. The inclusion criteria were 1) adults with18-year-old of age or older; 2) subjects being treated with antidepressants for at least two months with stable blood levels; 3) subjects with depression based upon the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) depressive scale; 4) subjects with positive score for traumatic events based upon the Children's Revised Impact of Events Scale-13 (CERIES-13, Thai version). The subjects were eligible if they fulfilled all four criteria. The studied subjects were treated with 60-90 minutes of EMDR psychotherapy twice a week for three weeks. The changing of the PHQ-9 depressive scale, CERIES-13 scale, and Rosenberg self-esteem scale were obtained before the treatment, at the end of the treatment, and a month later. The data were analyzed with Freidman's test and Dunn's method.

Results : Eighteen subjects with a mean age of 28 years were enrolled in the study. The subjects had significantly decreased PHQ-9 scale and CERIES-13 scale (mean difference [MD] = - 14, p = 0.004; MD = - 32, p<0.001, respectively), and had significantly increased self-esteem scale (MD = 8.58, p<0.001) at the end of the treatment, and a month later compared to the baseline (MD = - 16, p = 0.004; MD = - 37, p<0.001, MD = 8.29, p<0.001, respectively). Furthermore, there was no significant difference in the scales between the end of the treatment and one-month follow-up.

Conclusion :  The study demonstrated the therapeutic benefit of adding EMDR psychotherapy in people with 18 years old or more who were treated with antidepressants for MDD associated with PTSD. The benefit of adding EMDR psychotherapy possibly reduces the depressive symptoms and PTSD symptoms and improves their self-esteem. Further evaluation of the effectiveness of EMDR psychotherapy in a randomized controlled trial method is warranted.

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How to Cite
Srikosai, S., Khamfou, C., Thakham, A., Wongmueang, J., Thippunya, K., Wongpothi, U., Tailangkha, P., & Methaanunkul, P. (2021). A Pilot Study of the Therapeutic Benefit of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Psychotherapy in Major Depressive Disorder Associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: -. Journal of the Psychiatric Association of Thailand, 66(2), 173–188. Retrieved from https://he01.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/JPAT/article/view/246773
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