Disease and Illness: Prevention, Treatment, Caring, and Health

Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University, 4301 Jones Bridge Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA.
Preventing chronic disease (Impact Factor: 2.12). 11/2011; 8(6):A128.
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Available from: Robert J Ursano,

  • Psychosomatic Medicine 02/2012; 74(2):118-9. DOI:10.1097/PSY.0b013e318249c50a · 3.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: More than 2 million Americans have deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade. For these individuals, anticipated and actual exposure to life-threatening events were a routine part of daily life. Similarly, natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, the recent natural and man-made consequences of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, the massive Southeast Asia tsunami of 2005, and tornadoes tearing through the Southeast United States, have placed in graphic relief the traumatic events that affect many millions of lives every year. Even in our everyday life (and medical practice), trauma is everpresent: sexual assault, domestic violence, gang shootings, and accidents. In the United States, over 10 million motor vehicle accidents result in more than 35 000 deaths each year (1). If we told our hospitals that 34% of everyone in the intensive care unit had a staphylococcal infection, they would immediately institute screening, treatment, and observation. Yet we know that approximately that rate of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs in patients presenting to hospital trauma units after serious motor vehicle accidents. Regardless, assessment for PTSD and other trauma-related disorders is not a standard of care in emergency departments, nor in outpatient settings where many patients affected by trauma present.
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