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01-12-2010 | Review Paper | Uitgave 6/2010

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 6/2010

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Children and Adolescents: A Review of Psychopharmacological Treatment

Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 6/2010
J. Huemer, F. Erhart, H. Steiner


PTSD in children and adolescents differs from the adult disease. Therapeutic approaches involve both psychotherapy and psychopharmacotherapy. Objectives: The current paper aims at reviewing studies on psychopharmacological treatment of childhood and adolescent PTSD. Additionally, developmental frameworks for PTSD diagnosis and research along with an experimental model of quenching and kindling in the context of stress exposure are presented. We conducted an extensive literature search of reviews on psychopharmacotherapy as well as studies on psychopharmacological treatment for PTSD among children and adolescents. We used the database PubMed and focused on the time period of the last 10 years up to January 2009. Pertinent earlier papers were also included.There are a limited number of studies specifically assessing the psychopharmacological treatment of PTSD in children and adolescents. The vast majority of them lack verification in RCTs. Only the use of imipramine, divalproex sodium and sertraline were already evaluated in RCTs. Future studies should take into account developmental approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD in children and adolescents. In this context, different underlying neurobiological patterns, which are reflected in distinct clinical symptomatology, require a precise investigation and a symptom-orientated psychopharmacological approach.

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