A Randomized Controlled Feasibility Trial of Reminder-Focused Positive Psychiatry in Adolescents With Comorbid Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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Objective: To investigate the impact of reminder-focused positive psychiatry (RFPP) on attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, vascular-function, inflammation and well-being of adolescents with comorbid ADHD and PTSD.

Methods: After obtaining informed-consent, 11 adolescents were randomized to RFPP (n = 5) or trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) (n = 6). Eight participants (RFPP: n = 4, TF-CBT: n = 4) completed the twice-weekly intervention for a 6-week trial. The RFPP intervention was inclusive of positive psychiatry interventions on (1) traumatic reminders and (2) avoidance and negative cognition. Vascular function measured as temperature rebound, C-reactive protein, homocysteine, ADHD Swanson, Nolan, and Pelham (SNAP) Questionnaire, Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5–Child/Adolescent Version (CAPS-CA), and neuropsychiatric-measures were measured at baseline and 6 weeks. Subjects were followed for 12 months. The study was conducted from September 2016 to June 2018.

Results: A significant improvement in CAPS-CA, SNAP scores, and vascular function of both RFPP and TF-CBT groups was noted at follow-up, but was more-robust in the RFPP group (P < .05). At the sixth week, a significant increase in PERMA, gratitude, resilience, and Posttraumatic Growth Inventory scores and a significant decrease in homocysteine and C-reactive protein levels in the RFPP group, but not the TF-CBT group, were noted (P < .05). At 12-month follow-up, there was no psychiatry hospitalization or suicide ideation reported in either group. A continuation of significant improvement in CAPS-CA and SNAP scores in both groups was noted but was more robust in the RFPP group (P < .05). Similarly, a continuation of significant increase in PERMA, gratitude, resilience and Posttraumatic Growth Inventory scores was noted in the RFPP group but not in the TF-CBT group (P < .05).

Conclusions: RFPP is associated with improvement in core PTSD and ADHD symptoms, decrease in inflammation, and increase in well-being, vascular function, and posttraumatic growth, as well as a favorable long-term clinical outcome. This finding highlights the importance of the dual role of RFPP in addressing vulnerability symptoms as well as enhancing well-being in youth with comorbid ADHD and PTSD.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT04336072

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2020;22(5):19m02579

https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.19m02579