The epidemiology of trauma, PTSD, and other posttrauma disorders.

Department of Epidemiology, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, USA.
Trauma Violence & Abuse (Impact Factor: 3.27). 04/2009; 10(3):198-210. DOI: 10.1177/1524838009334448
Source: PubMed

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: a b s t r a c t Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a complex syndrome that occurs following exposure to a poten-tially life threatening traumatic event. This review summarises the literature on the genetics of PTSD including gene–environment interactions (GxE), epigenetics and genetics of treatment response. Numer-ous genes have been shown to be associated with PTSD using candidate gene approaches. Genome-wide association studies have been limited due to the large sample size required to reach statistical power. Studies have shown that GxE interactions are important for PTSD susceptibility. Epigenetics plays an important role in PTSD susceptibility and some of the most promising studies show stress and child abuse trigger epigenetic changes. Much of the molecular genetics of PTSD remains to be elucidated. However, it is clear that identifying genetic markers and environmental triggers has the potential to advance early PTSD diagnosis and therapeutic interventions and ultimately ease the personal and financial burden of this debilitating disorder.
    Journal of Anxiety Disorders 12/2014; 28(8):873-883. DOI:10.1016/j.janxdis.2014.09.014 · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Most studies of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have focused on 'high-risk' populations defined by exposure to trauma. Aims To estimate the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a LMIC, the conditional probability of PTSD given a traumatic event and the strength of associations between traumatic events and other psychiatric disorders. Method Our sample contained a mix of 3995 twins and 2019 non-twins. We asked participants about nine different traumatic exposures, including the category 'other', but excluding sexual trauma. Results Traumatic events were reported by 36.3% of participants and lifetime PTSD was present in 2.0%. Prevalence of non-PTSD lifetime diagnosis was 19.1%. Of people who had experienced three or more traumatic events, 13.3% had lifetime PTSD and 40.4% had a non-PTSD psychiatric diagnosis. Conclusions Despite high rates of exposure to trauma, this population had lower rates of PTSD than high-income populations, although the prevalence might have been slightly affected by the exclusion of sexual trauma. There are high rates of non-PTSD diagnoses associated with trauma exposure that could be considered in interventions for trauma-exposed populations. Our findings suggest that there is no unique relationship between traumatic experiences and the specific symptomatology of PTSD.
    The British journal of psychiatry: the journal of mental science 09/2014; 205(5). DOI:10.1192/bjp.bp.113.141796 · 7.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Previous studies have established an association between number of traumatic experiences and alexithymia. The present study examines this relationship in a large-scale representative sample of the German general population (N=2,507) and explores the potential mediating effects of posttraumatic symptomatology, particularly avoidance/numbing. Methods Alexithymia was assessed with the German version of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). Posttraumatic symptomatology was operationalized by the symptom score of the modified German version of the Posttraumatic Symptom Scale, and traumatic experiences were assessed with the trauma list of the Munich Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Two mediation analyses were conducted. Results Of the total sample, 24.2% (n=606) reported at least one traumatic experience, 10.6% (n=258) were classified as alexithymic, and 2.4% (n=59) fulfilled the criteria of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants who had survived five or more traumatic experiences had significantly higher alexithymia sum scores. The PTSD symptom cluster avoidance/numbing mediated the association between the number of traumatic experiences and alexithymia. Conclusions Our findings illustrate an association between number of traumatic experiences and alexithymia and the influence of emotional avoidance and numbing within this relationship. The significant relationship between alexithymia and number of traumatic experiences in a general population sample further supports the concept of multiple and complex traumatization as associated with alexithymia. The results suggest the importance of further investigations determining the causal impact of alexithymia both as a potential premorbid trait and as consequence of traumatization. Lastly, future investigations are needed to clarify alexithymia as a distinct trauma-relevant characteristic for better diagnostics and specialized trauma-integrative therapy.
    European Journal of Psychotraumatology 08/2014; 5. DOI:10.3402/ejpt.v5.23870 · 2.40 Impact Factor