Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Primer for Trauma Surgeons

Division of Trauma/Critical Care, Department of Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226, USA.
The Journal of trauma (Impact Factor: 2.96). 07/2010; 69(1):231-7. DOI: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181e16e2a
Source: PubMed


In 1980, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) officially became classified as an anxiety disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd edition. Since then, there has been increasing recognition that PTSD is a prevalent disorder that may have significant impact on the quality of life for survivors of traumatic events. More recently, methodologically sound research has begun to provide important insight into this disorder. The following review serves to provide the trauma surgeons information on PTSD in terms of its diagnosis, prevalence, risk factors, treatment strategies, and outcomes, with the goal of minimizing the sequelae of PTSD and maximizing postinjury quality of life.

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    • "Some anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, primarily involve the tendency to experience acute episodes of intense anxiety, in situations unlikely to elicit such anxiety reactions in other individuals (Fava & Morton , 2009). Other anxiety disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, involve the extended perseveration of anxiety symptoms, in response to a stressor likely to have elicited intense but briefer anxiety reactions in other individuals (Roberts, 2010). Hence, one can speculate that the capacity to assess susceptibility to specific types of anxiety dysfunction may be augmented by using measures of anxiety reactivity, and anxiety perseveration, in addition to trait anxiety. "
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    ABSTRACT: Trait anxiety is an individual-difference variable reflecting variation in state-anxiety elevations resulting from exposure to a stressor. It is usually measured using questionnaire instruments, such as the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-T). The present research conceptually distinguishes, and independently assesses, two hypothetical dimensions of anxiety vulnerability which, it is argued, could plausibly make independent contributions to variance in trait-anxiety scores. These dimensions are anxiety reactivity, the probability of experiencing an anxiety reaction to a stressor, and anxiety perseveration, the persistence of anxiety symptoms once elicited. Participants were asked three questions about each STAI-T item. The traditional STAI-T question assessed how much of the time this symptom was experienced; the anxiety-reactivity question assessed the probability of experiencing the symptom in response to a stressor; and the anxiety-perseveration question assessed how long the symptom persisted, if elicited. Regression analysis determined that anxiety reactivity and anxiety perseveration scores both accounted for independent variance in trait-anxiety scores. It is argued that models of anxiety vulnerability should seek to differentiate both the causes and the consequences of elevated anxiety reactivity and increased anxiety perseveration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
    Emotion 12/2011; 12(5):903-7. DOI:10.1037/a0025612 · 3.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prolonged exposure to multiple traumatic events of an interpersonal nature, particularly during development, has shown psychological consequences and symptoms not included among the current diagnostic criteria of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These negative and chronic situations during childhood and adolescence provide further evidence of the existence of a psychopathological syndrome associated with complex (dis)adaptations to a number of traumatic effects. The absence of a cohesive and reliable diagnosis for these patients negatively affects symptom identification and treatment planning. The aim of the present study was to review the definition of trauma, presenting the concept of complex trauma and investigating its clinical implications and the diagnostic categories deriving from this construct. Important questions are raised about differences between complex trauma and PTSD, followed by an investigation of PTSD symptoms and comorbid disorders, as well as the limitations of PTSD diagnosis. Taking into consideration the psychopathological impact associated with complex trauma, the article discusses the possibility of including a new diagnostic category in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is discussed, as part of the spectrum of post-traumatic psychopathologies.
    Revista de Psiquiatria do Rio Grande do Sul 01/2011; 33(1-1):55-62.
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    ABSTRACT: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with significant morbidity following injury. The incidence and risk factors for PTSD are not well described in the civilian trauma population. We proposed to screen all trauma patients in the outpatient trauma clinic for acute PTSD symptoms and identify risk factors for PTSD. We prospectively screened 1,386 injured patients who presented for follow-up in trauma clinic (January 2009 to September 2010) using an established PTSD screening test (PTSD Checklist-Civilian, PCL-C). A PCL-C score of ≥35, with a known sensitivity of >85% for PTSD, was considered screen-positive (PCL-C-POS). Backward stepwise logistic regression was used to determine independent risk factors for PCL-C-POS. Over 25% of trauma clinic patients met the threshold for positive PTSD screen (PCL-C-POS). The highest incidence (43%) was in patients who sustained assault (blunt or penetrating). Regression analysis revealed that age <55 years, female gender, motor vehicle collision, and assaultive mechanism (blunt or penetrating, excluding self-inflicted or accidental injury) were independent predictors of PCL-C-POS status. As the severity of symptoms increased (higher PCL-C scores), the risk associated with assaultive mechanism significantly increased in a dose-response fashion (p < 0.05). This study confirms the high incidence of acute PTSD symptoms in trauma patients and supports the feasibility of PTSD screening in the outpatient trauma clinic. Among all mechanisms of injury, patients who sustain interpersonal violence are at the highest risk of developing acute PTSD symptoms. These results suggest that PTSD screening in outpatient trauma clinic may allow early detection and referral of patients with PTSD. II.
    03/2012; 72(3):629-35; discussion 635-7. DOI:10.1097/TA.0b013e31824416aa
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