Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) occur in children ages 0 to 18. ACEs are traumatic events that may be mentally and emotionally distressful. Examples of ACEs include childhood physical, emotional, sexual abuse as well as neglect and bullying. Experiencing ACEs places children at a greater risk for developmental problems. ACEs can have long-lasting negative mental health implications into adulthood. This rapid systematic review analyzed the difference in efficacy between cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and drug therapy (i.e. antidepressants) on childhood trauma survivors. Our team screened 184 studies by title and abstract from PubMed and Scopus, and seven relevant studies were included in the review. We extracted data measuring depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder outcomes, and remission. Five studies focused on CBT as mental health treatments, while three focused on antidepressants. For depression outcomes, some findings suggest antidepressants may be more effective (but not significantly); other findings suggest CBT is superior to antidepressants. Both CBT and antidepressants may be equally effective for treating anxiety. For PTSD outcomes, CBT (with trauma-narrative approach) showed fewer symptoms post-treatment. To mitigate such mental health conditions due to ACEs, patient education and counseling by healthcare providers may be essential. In order to prevent such mental conditions from occurring, an increased focus on programs and policies that prevent ACEs is essential.
Jha, Neha, "The Difference in Effectiveness Between Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Pharmacotherapy for Mental Health Conditions in Childhood Trauma Survivors" (2021). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 399.