Cognitive Function Assessment of a Patient With PTSD Before and After EMDR Treatment

The current case study investigates whether successful psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms will also ameliorate cognitive de cits. We describe the treatment response of a 37-year- old woman diagnosed with PTSD who received eight weekly EMDR sessions. At pre-treatment, the patient reported emotional disturbance on the Beck Depression Inventory-II, and problems with anxiety and sleep. Testing showed high scores on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Symptoms Scale of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Scale-Revised. An evaluation of her attention pro le and other executive functions was conducted with dual execution tasks using a virtual reality program, Nesplora Aquarium. The attention testing data indicated attention-de cit disorder. At the end of the therapy, testing showed improvements in sleep problems and in emotional disturbance and anxiety symptoms on all measures. The attention testing revealed normal scores for her age range in the Nesplora Aquarium test. A follow-up assessment was carried out at 1 month, and it was observed that the patient maintained the improvement achieved. We discuss the relationship between PTSD and cognitive impairment and the value of the Nesplora Aquarium test for cognitive assessments. Our results suggest attentional de cits in this case when performing a continuous execution test with dual execution components that involve the participation of the central executive system of working memory.
DOI: 10.1891/EMDR-D-20-00022

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