The epidemiology of trauma, PTSD, and other posttrauma disorders.
ABSTRACT Epidemiologic studies have reported that the majority of community residents in the United States have experienced posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-level traumatic events, as defined in the DSM-IV. Only a small subset of trauma victims develops PTSD (<10%). Increased incidence of other disorders following trauma exposure occurs primarily among trauma victims with PTSD. Female victims of traumatic events are at higher risk for PTSD than male victims are. Direct evidence on the causes of the sex difference in the conditional risk of PTSD is unavailable. The available evidence suggests that the sex difference is not due to (a) the higher occurrence of sexual assault among females, (b) prior traumatic experiences, (c) preexisting depression or anxiety disorder, or (d) sex-related bias in reporting. Observed sex differences in anxiety, neuroticism, and depression, inducing effects of stressful experiences, might provide a theoretical context for further inquiry into the greater vulnerability of females to PTSD.
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ABSTRACT: Research has elucidated causal links between stress exposure and the development of anxiety disorders, but due to the limited use of female or sex-comparative animal models, little is known about the mechanisms underlying sex differences in those disorders. This is despite an overwhelming wealth of evidence from the clinical literature that the prevalence of anxiety disorders is about twice as high in women compared to men, in addition to gender differences in severity and treatment efficacy. We here review human gender differences in generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and anxiety-relevant biological functions, discuss the limitations of classic conflict anxiety tests to measure naturally occurring sex differences in anxiety-like behaviors, describe sex-dependent manifestation of anxiety states after gestational, neonatal, or adolescent stressors, and present animal models of chronic anxiety states induced by acute or chronic stressors during adulthood. Potential mechanisms underlying sex differences in stress-related anxiety states include emerging evidence supporting the existence of two anatomically and functionally distinct serotonergic circuits that are related to the modulation of conflict anxiety and panic-like anxiety, respectively. We discuss how these serotonergic circuits may be controlled by reproductive steroid hormone-dependent modulation of crfr1 and crfr2 expression in the midbrain dorsal raphe nucleus and by estrous stage-dependent alterations of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABAergic) neurotransmission in the periaqueductal gray, ultimately leading to sex differences in emotional behavior.Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology 04/2013; · 4.46 Impact Factor
Article: Trauma and conditional risk of posttraumatic stress disorder in two American Indian reservation communities.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: To determine conditional risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in two culturally distinct American Indian reservation communities. METHOD: Data derived from the American Indian Service Utilization, Psychiatric Epidemiology, Risk and Protective Factors Project, a cross-sectional population-based survey that was completed between 1997 and 2000. This study focused on 1,967 participants meeting the DSM-IV criteria for trauma exposure. Traumas were grouped into interpersonal, non-interpersonal, witnessed, and "trauma to close others" categories. Analyses examined distribution of worst traumas, conditional rates of PTSD following exposure, and distributions of PTSD cases deriving from these events. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions estimated associations of lifetime PTSD with trauma type. RESULTS: Overall, 15.9 % of those exposed to DSM-IV trauma qualified for lifetime PTSD, a rate comparable to similar US studies. Women were more likely to develop PTSD than were men. The majority (60 %) of cases of PTSD among women derived from interpersonal trauma exposure (in particular, sexual and physical abuse); among men, cases were more evenly distributed across trauma categories. CONCLUSIONS: Previous research has demonstrated higher rates of both trauma exposure and PTSD in American Indian samples compared to other Americans. This study shows that conditional rates of PTSD are similar to those reported elsewhere, suggesting that the elevated prevalence of this disorder in American Indian populations is largely due to higher rates of trauma exposure.Social Psychiatry 11/2012; · 2.05 Impact Factor
Article: Sex differences in stress-related receptors: "micro" differences with "macro" implications for mood and anxiety disorders[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Stress-related psychiatric disorders, such as unipolar depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), occur more frequently in women than in men. Emerging research suggests that sex differences in receptors for the stress hormones, corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) and glucocorticoids, contribute to this disparity. For example, sex differences in CRF receptor binding in the amygdala of rats may predispose females to greater anxiety following stressful events. Additionally, sex differences in CRF receptor signaling and trafficking in the locus coeruleus arousal center combine to make females more sensitive to low levels of CRF, and less adaptable to high levels. These receptor differences in females could lead to hyperarousal, a dysregulated state associated with symptoms of depression and PTSD. Similar to the sex differences observed in CRF receptors, sex differences in glucocorticoid receptor (GR) function also appear to make females more susceptible to dysregulation after a stressful event. Following hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis activation, GRs are critical to the negative feedback process that inhibits additional glucocorticoid release. Compared to males, female rats have fewer GRs and impaired GR translocation following chronic adolescent stress, effects linked to slower glucocorticoid negative feedback. Thus, under conditions of chronic stress, attenuated negative feedback in females would result in hypercortisolemia, an endocrine state thought to cause depression. Together, these studies suggest that sex differences in stress-related receptors shift females more easily into a dysregulated state of stress reactivity, linked to the development of mood and anxiety disorders. The implications of these receptor sex differences for the development of novel pharmacotherapies are also discussed.Biology of Sex Differences. 01/2013;