Remission from post-traumatic stress disorder in the general population
Few studies have focused on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remission in the population, none have modelled remission beyond age 54 years and none have explored in detail the correlates of remission from PTSD. This study examined trauma experience, symptom severity, co-morbidity, service use and time to PTSD remission in a large population sample. Data came from respondents (n=8841) of the 2007 Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (NSMHWB). A modified version of the World Health Organization's World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI) was used to determine the presence and age of onset of DSM-IV PTSD and other mental and substance use disorders, type, age, and number of lifetime traumas, severity of re-experiencing, avoidance and hypervigilance symptoms and presence and timing of service use. Projected lifetime remission rate was 92% and median time to remission was 14 years. Those who experienced childhood trauma, interpersonal violence, severe symptoms or a secondary anxiety or affective disorder were less likely to remit from PTSD and reported longer median times to remission compared to those with other trauma experiences, less severe symptoms or no co-morbidity. Although most people in the population with PTSD eventually remit, a significant minority report symptoms decades after onset. Those who experience childhood trauma or interpersonal violence should be a high priority for intervention.