Healthcare cost reduction and psychiatric symptom improvement in posttraumatic stress disorder patients treated with intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy

Hannah Roggenkamp, Allan Abbass, Joel M. Town, Steve Kisely, Robert Johansson


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with significant psychiatric morbidity and high healthcare costs.


The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate changes in healthcare costs and general psychiatric symptom severity in patients with PTSD following intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP).


Healthcare services cost and utilization data were compiled at intake, prior to starting ISTDP and then assessed annually for three years thereafter. Two validated self-report scales, the Brief Symptom Inventory and the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems, were administered at intake and termination.


Results showed significant reductions in physician costs and physician visits at one-year post-treatment, with these persisting over the three-year follow-up period. There were also large but statistically non-significant reductions in hospital costs. At termination, self-reported psychiatric symptoms and interpersonal problems were reduced.


These preliminary findings suggest that ISTDP may lead to healthcare cost reductions and general psychiatric symptom improvement in patients with PTSD, with healthcare utilization benefits maintained at long-term follow up. Future research directions were discussed.

    Keywords: Posttraumatic stress disorder; Psychotherapy; Psychodynamic; Healthcare costs; Comorbidity; Pilot project