Comparing the Stability of Diagnosis in Full vs. Partial Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

VA Medical Center, White River Junction, VT 05009, USA.
The Journal of nervous and mental disease (Impact Factor: 1.81). 06/2012; 200(6):520-5. DOI: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318257c6da
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We studied differences in diagnostic stability between patients with full and patients with partial posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We collected self-reported symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and functioning at a Veterans Affairs mental health clinic (n = 1962). We classified patients as meeting full or partial PTSD based upon their initial assessment. We performed Kaplan-Meier survival analysis to compare stability of diagnosis over time and Cox proportional hazards models to understand how comorbid symptoms and level of functioning confounded the relationship. We performed a chart review to examine differences in treatment received by the two groups. Patients in the partial PTSD group lost their diagnosis significantly faster and at significantly higher rates than did patients with full PTSD. Comorbid symptoms contributed significantly to this difference. Mental health treatments delivered to the two groups were similar. These diagnoses appear to be different, suggesting that people with partial PTSD may benefit from a different clinical approach.

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    ABSTRACT: A team of clinicians at a small rural Veterans' Health Administration (VHA) medical center piloted a brief psychological intervention for posttraumatic stress in a primary mental health care setting. Symptom measures were completed by veterans before and after receiving the brief trauma treatment (BTT), and were then analyzed using paired t tests. In our uncontrolled study, we found a statistically insignificant improvement in symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, though there were statistically significant, but not clinically significant, improvements in depression and general anxiety. The intervention may enhance subsequent specialty mental health engagement. Fifty-one veterans (62.20%) went on to receive psychotherapy in a specialty mental health setting, which represents a substantial increase in specialty psychotherapy engagement compared to reports elsewhere in the literature. Lack of controlled comparison precludes definitive conclusions, but the current preliminary results support future studies of brief psychological interventions in primary care settings, including randomized controlled comparisons. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
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