Posttraumatic stress disorder in primary care one year after the 9/11 attacks

Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York, New York, United States
General Hospital Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.9). 05/2006; 28(3):213-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2006.02.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To screen for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in primary care patients 7-16 months after 9/11 attacks and to examine its comorbidity, clinical presentation and relationships with mental health treatment and service utilization.
A systematic sample (n=930) of adult primary care patients who were seeking primary care at an urban general medicine clinic were interviewed using the PTSD Checklist: the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders (PRIME-MD) Patient Health Questionnaire and the Medical Outcome Study 12-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12). Health care utilization data were obtained by a cross linkage to the administrative computerized database.
Prevalence estimates of current 9/11-related probable PTSD ranged from 4.7% (based on a cutoff PCL-C score of 50 and over) to 10.2% (based on the DSM-IV criteria). A comorbid mental disorder was more common among patients with PTSD than patients without PTSD (80% vs. 30%). Patients with PTSD were more functionally impaired and reported increased use of mental health medication as compared to patients without PTSD (70% vs. 18%). Among patients with PTSD there was no increase in hospital and emergency room (ER) admissions or outpatient care during the first year after the attacks.
In an urban general medicine setting, 1 year after 9/11, the frequency of probable PTSD appears to be common and clinically significant. These results suggest an unmet need for mental health care in this clinical population and are especially important in view of available treatments for PTSD.

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