The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss interventions of stabilisation of emotions and behaviour in adults with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This topic is understudied in persons with intellectual disability.
The aim of this study was to investigate interventions of stabilisation in persons with more severe intellectual disability; i.e. persons with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities. Five patients in a specialised psychiatric inpatient unit for patients with intellectual disabilities were included. Information about treatment of the patients was collected through case files, observations, and interviews. The authors of this paper followed a training programme for trauma therapists in addition to the inpatient treatment of the five patients.
Six main areas of stabilisation of emotions and behaviour were identified: validation, anxiety relief, treatment of depressed mood, increased mastering of daily activities, protection against anxiety triggers, and facilitated staff communication. Protection from anxiety triggers seems to be a core element of milieu therapy interventions. Interventions for neurotypical PTSD patients, such as exposure therapy may be contraindicated for patients with more severe intellectual disabilities.
Research on interventions of stabilisation towards adults with more severe intellectual disabilities is still in its infancy. The case reports may help milieu therapists to facilitate interventions towards patients with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities.
The present study is a result of a training programme for health professionals working in the psychiatric services in Norway, known as Safer Trauma Therapists (in Norwegian: Tryggere Traumeterapeuter (TT)). The authors, who all work in the same specialised psychiatric unit for adults with intellectual disabilities, participated in this programme lasting ten months (rvts.no). The insights from this programme urged the authors to facilitate assessment and interventions towards people with intellectual disabilities who experience post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. The authors are grateful to the five patients and their families for their co-operation with this study. The authors also wish to thank psychologist Trine Anstorp for her clinical counselling and her encouragement while preparing the manuscript.
Lise Bakken, T., Gjersoe, V., Matre, E., Kristiansen, T., Ro, A., Louise Tveter, A., Helene Hoeidal, S. and Nikolai Kildahl, A. (2014), "PTSD in adults with intellectual disabilities: stabilisation during inpatient stay", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 237-247. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-10-2013-0061Download as .RIS
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