Post-traumatic nightmares (PTNMs) can be treatment resistant to conventional treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). New cognitive and behavioral treatments (CBTs) for nightmares (NM) and pharmacological treatments, such as Prazosin, have been developed to directly reduce PTNMs. Objectives: The first objective was to evaluate the impact of CBTs for NM and Prazosin on the reduction of PTNMs in an adult population. A second aim was to explore the impact of these treatments in general PTSD symptoms and sleep. Method: A systematic search of English and French clinical studies on any CBTs and Prazosin treatments for PTNMs published from 1980 to 2012 was conducted in PsycINFO, MedLine, PILOTS,and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Results: The final sample was composed of 26 studies. The combined effect size (ES) for Prazosin was g = 1.30, 95% CI [0.61, 2.00], and for CBTs, it was g = 0.55, 95% CI [0.38, 0.72]. Conclusions: Prazosin had a large impact on PTNM reduction, while CBTs had a moderate impact. Specific NM treatments (Prazosin or CBTs) contribute to PTNM reduction and reduce PTSD and sleep symptoms. These findings are significant to the literature on PTSD and future studies should consider them. Several recommendations are proposed.
Part of the book: A Multidimensional Approach to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder