The authors used the revised Impact of Events Scale (IES-R), Beck Depression Inventory, and Dissociative Experiences Scale as outcome measures.
Significant reductions in symptoms were recorded by the end of the 6-week treatment period, as shown on the IES-R, as well as the Beck Depression Inventory and the Dissociative Experiences Scale. Twenty-one (58%) of the subjects responded to treatment by a reduction of 50% or more on the IES-R.
Improvement was maintained at 6-month and 1-year follow-ups. Use of medication was reduced.
The research team concluded that HOC shows potential for providing benefit to individuals suffering from combat related PTSD with olfactory components.
1 HOC incorporates elements of CBT, wherebythe patient develops mastery over anxiety symptoms by being conditioned to associate a pleasant odor with a state of calm. Using olfactory cues, the patient then learns how to cultivate a “safe place” where one can learn to manage one’s anxiety and to gain a sense of mastery over fear and stress. In the next phase, the patient is finally able to withstand imaginal exposure to the traumatic memory itself. Finally, the patient, who has learned the role of scent in producing his or her symptoms, is able to replace the traumatic olfactory cues with pleasant ones.