Sexual Desire among Veterans Receiving Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD: Does Successful PTSD Treatment Also Yield Improvements in Sexual Desire?

Christal L. Badour, Keith S. Cox, Jessica R.M. Goodnight, Jessica Flores, Peter W. Tuerk, Sheila A.M. Rauch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: People with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) commonly report difficulties with sexual desire and other aspects of sexual functioning, but it is currently unknown if people who respond to psychotherapy for PTSD also report improvements in sexual desire. Method: One hundred and eighty-seven veterans with PTSD received prolonged exposure (PE) therapy at two outpatient PTSD specialty clinics and completed measures of PTSD symptoms (the PTSD Checklist–Military Version) and sexual desire (item 21 of the Beck Depression Inventory–Second Edition) repeatedly throughout the course of treatment. Results: The results of a conditional generalized mixed ordinal regression model showed a significant interaction between weeks in treatment and PTSD treatment response in predicting change in sexual desire across the course of treatment. Specifically, PTSD treatment responders reported improvement in sexual desire over the course of treatment, whereas nonresponders did not show changes in sexual desire over time. However, the effect of PTSD treatment response was no longer significant when accounting for severity of depression at the start of treatment. Participants reporting more severe depression at the start of treatment reported less improvement in sexual desire, regardless of PTSD symptom response. Conclusions: People with PTSD who respond to PE also report improvements in sexual desire over time, indicating that response to PE is associated with improved sexual desire, but the effect is complicated by the presence of co-occurring depression symptomatology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-83
Number of pages14
JournalPsychiatry (New York)
Volume83
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported, in part, by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institute of Mental Health [K12 DA035150], and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Badour receives support from Grant Number K12 DA035150 from the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the Department of Veterans Affairs. Preparation of this manuscript was supported by the Mental Health Service at VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ralph H. Johnson VAMC, and the VA Atlanta Healthcare System.

Funding Information:
Dr. Badour receives support from Grant Number K12 DA035150 from the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the Department of Veterans Affairs. Preparation of this manuscript was supported by the Mental Health Service at VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ralph H. Johnson VAMC, and the VA Atlanta Healthcare System.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Washington School of Psychiatry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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