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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Blog

Related terms: Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, PTSD, PSTD

Psychiatric Ills Widespread Among U.S. Soldiers: Studies

Posted 3 Mar 2014 by

MONDAY, March 3, 2014 – Three new studies suggest that a sizeable percentage of American soldiers suffer from some type of mental health issue, at rates higher than those seen in the general population. "Some of the differences in disorder rates are truly remarkable," Ronald Kessler, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School and senior author of one of the studies, said in a Harvard news release. "The rate of major depression is five times as high among soldiers as civilians, intermittent explosive disorder six times as high, and post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] nearly 15 times as high." Two of the three studies relied on data from the STARRS survey, a major research effort involving almost 5,500 soldiers. The survey is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Army and the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). All of the studies were released online ... Read more

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Modern War Wounds Can Devastate Vets' Sexual, Emotional Health

Posted 21 Feb 2014 by

FRIDAY, Feb. 21, 2014 – The tools of war have changed. With the increased use of powerful explosive devices, men and women patrolling on foot in bomb-laced areas of combat are increasingly suffering traumatic injuries to the groin and genitals, experts say. Those injuries can pose complex long-term sexual and psychological challenges. It is hard to even imagine having your genitals crushed, burned or ripped off in a blast by a makeshift bomb, said Dr. Chris Gonzalez, the lead author of a new review article published recently in The Journal of Men's Health. "For some, it's even worse than losing a limb," he said. The impact of so-called "improvised explosive devices" (IEDs) is different from gun fire encountered in earlier combat, explained Gonzalez, who is a professor of urology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago. "The energy comes from the ground up, so ... Read more

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College Drinking May Aggravate PTSD Symptoms

Posted 31 Jan 2014 by

FRIDAY, Jan. 31, 2014 – College students with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are likely to drink more alcohol than other students, potentially worsening their symptoms and leading them to drink even more, new research suggests. It's estimated that 9 percent of all college students suffer from PTSD, an anxiety disorder that can develop after seeing or living through a frightening event. People with PTSD may experience flashbacks, nightmares and angry outbursts. "College is a time of important developmental changes and a period of risk for heavy drinking, trauma exposure and post-traumatic stress symptoms," study principal investigator Jennifer Read, an associate professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo, said in a university news release. "Heavy drinking is common on college campuses and related to risk for sexual assault, interpersonal violence and serious injury, any ... Read more

Related support groups: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Acute Alcohol Intoxication

Could Ecstasy Help People With Anxiety, PTSD?

Posted 17 Jan 2014 by

FRIDAY, Jan. 17, 2014 – Researchers say they've discovered how the club drug Ecstasy acts on the brain, and their findings suggest the drug might be useful in treating anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The study included 25 volunteers who underwent two functional MRI brain scans – one after taking Ecstasy (MDMA) and one after taking a placebo. Both times, the participants did not know which substance they had been given. Ecstasy decreased activity in the brain's limbic system, which is involved in emotional responses. The drug also reduced communication between the brain's medial temporal lobe and medial prefrontal cortex, which is involved in emotional control, according to the study, which was published online Jan. 13 in the journal Biological Psychiatry. These effects are the opposite of brain patterns that occur in people with anxiety, said the researchers, from Imperial ... Read more

Related support groups: Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Military Contractors Suffer High Rates of PTSD, Study Finds

Posted 10 Dec 2013 by

TUESDAY, Dec. 10, 2013 – Private contractors who worked in Afghanistan, Iraq and other conflict zones over the past two years have high rates of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a new study finds. Researchers conducted an anonymous online survey of 660 contractors who had been deployed to a conflict zone at least once between early 2011 and early 2013, and found that 25 percent met the criteria for PTSD and 18 percent for depression. Half reported alcohol misuse. Despite these problems, few contractors received help before or after deployment, according to the study by the RAND Corp., a nonprofit research organization. Even though most of them had health insurance, only 28 percent of those with PTSD and 34 percent of those with depression reported receiving mental health treatment in the previous 12 months. Many contractors also reported physical health problems as ... Read more

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PTSD Might Lead to Sizable Weight Gain in Women

Posted 21 Nov 2013 by

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 20 – Women with post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to be overweight or obese than women without the condition, a new study suggests. According to the researchers, one in nine women will have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in her life. That's twice as often as men. Women are more likely to experience traumatic events, such as rape, which carry a high risk for PTSD, the study authors said. "PTSD is not just about mental health, but also has physical health consequences," said lead researcher Karestan Koenen, an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, in New York City. Women with PTSD gain weight faster than women who do not have the condition, Koenen said. "This, in turn, has consequences for the risk of heart disease and all the adverse outcomes associated with obesity," she said. How ... Read more

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New Test Spots Risk for PTSD in Injured Kids

Posted 5 Oct 2013 by

FRIDAY, Oct. 4 – A simple, short mental health test already used for pediatric patients has been found effective at predicting post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) risk among preschoolers seriously injured by such things as a burn or car crash. "The most important point is that until now we had no evidence-based method to identify preschool-age children for their risk of long-term psychological problems early after accidents," said the study's lead author, Markus Landolt, head of pediatric psychology at University Children's Hospital Zurich. Such problems can manifest as repetitive nightmares or the "replaying" of the initial trauma, anxiety, aggressive behavior, temper tantrums and problems with concentration, according to the researchers. The Swiss effort centers around the "Pediatric Emotional Distress Scale" questionnaire (PEDS). This test was retooled into the PEDS-Early Screener ... Read more

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Memory-Erasing Gene Discovered in Mice

Posted 20 Sep 2013 by

FRIDAY, Sept. 20 – A newly identified gene that plays an important role in erasing old memories could point to new ways to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), researchers say. The role of the Tet1 gene in "memory extinction" was uncovered in experiments with mice. The gene appears to control a small group of other genes necessary for getting rid of old memories. Boosting the activity of the Tet1 gene may help people with PTSD by making it easier for them replace memories of traumatic events with more pleasant memories, said study senior author Li-Huei Tsai, director of the Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "If there is a way to significantly boost the expression of these genes, then extinction learning is going to be much more active," Tsai, a professor of neuroscience, said in an MIT news release. Scientists note, however, that ... Read more

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Sleep Apnea Treatment Eases Nightmares in Vets With PTSD: Study

Posted 19 Jul 2013 by

WEDNESDAY, July 17 – For military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep apnea, treatment with continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, reduces their nightmares, a new study finds. Researchers reviewed the medical records of U.S. veterans who had been treated in a VA medical center sleep clinic between 2011 and 2012. The investigators looked at the average number of nightmares per week before treatment and up to six months after CPAP was prescribed for the veterans. The use of CPAP led to a significant reduction in the number of nightmares, which was most connected to how well veterans complied with the treatment. "Patients with PTSD get more motivated to use CPAP once they get restful sleep without frequent nightmares, and their compliance improves," principal investigator Dr. Sadeka Tamanna, medical director of the sleep disorders laboratory at G.V. ... Read more

Related support groups: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Sleep Apnea

PTSD May Raise Heart Risks for Vietnam Vets

Posted 28 Jun 2013 by

FRIDAY, June 28 – Vietnam veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are much more likely to develop heart disease, a new study finds. Researchers looked at 562 middle-aged male twins (340 identical and 222 fraternal) who were veterans of the Vietnam War, and found that nearly 23 percent of the vets with PTSD had heart disease, compared with about 9 percent of the vets without PTSD. When the researchers compared the 234 twins where one brother had PTSD and the other did not, 22 percent of those with PTSD had heart disease, compared with nearly 13 percent of those without PTSD. The link between PTSD and heart disease remained strong even after the researchers accounted for lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking and physical-activity levels, as well as for mental health problems such as depression. The study was published online June 25 in the Journal of the American ... Read more

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1 in 4 Stroke Survivors Suffers From PTSD, Study Finds

Posted 19 Jun 2013 by

WEDNESDAY, June 19 – Many of those lucky enough to survive a stroke find that they're soon faced with another serious challenge. Nearly one-quarter will develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a new study. The data show that experiencing a life-threatening health crisis can pose serious psychological challenges, said study lead author Donald Edmondson, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. Although post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) typically is associated with combat veterans and sexual assault survivors, the researchers discovered that patients who develop a serious health condition followed by intense treatment may have mental problems that frequently go unrecognized by physicians and family members. The study, published online June 19 in the journal PLoS ONE, also found that people who ... Read more

Related support groups: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Ischemic Stroke

Depression Common in Those With PTSD, Study Finds

Posted 6 Jun 2013 by

THURSDAY, June 6 – More than half of people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also suffer from depression, according to a new study. Researchers reviewed the findings of 57 studies that included more than 6,600 civilians and military personnel who suffered from PTSD and found that 52 percent of them also had symptoms of depression. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that usually stems from a traumatic event, and its symptoms include avoidance behaviors and flashbacks to bad memories. In depressive disorders, people feel lingering and overwhelming sadness and hopelessness. Symptoms of depression can range from "feeling blue" to thoughts of suicide. Previous estimates suggested that anywhere from 20 percent to 80 percent of people with PTSD also had depression. This new analysis also showed that rates of depression were similar among men and women with PTSD, said the researchers in ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD After Heart Attack Linked to Poor Sleep

Posted 30 May 2013 by

THURSDAY, May 30 – People who experience post-traumatic stress disorder following a heart attack may find it hard to get a good night's sleep, a new study indicates. The researchers from Columbia University Medical Center noted that poor sleep is typical among post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients, which may help explain the association between heart attack-induced PTSD and worse sleep quality. The study's first author, Jonathan Shaffer, and colleagues at Columbia's Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health examined the link between PTSD and sleep in almost 200 patients who suffered a heart attack. They found that the more PTSD symptoms people experienced following a heart attack, the worse their self-reported sleep was in the month after their heart attack. PTSD symptoms include anxiety, avoidance behaviors and flashbacks to bad memories. Worse PTSD symptoms were also tied ... Read more

Related support groups: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Heart Attack, Myocardial Infarction

Severely Injured Vets May Need Ongoing Emotional Care

Posted 11 Apr 2013 by

THURSDAY, April 11 – U.S. veterans who suffered major limb injuries in combat showed little improvement with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the two years after receiving treatment for their wounds, researchers report. Their pain levels showed the most improvement three to six months after their initial hospitalization and then leveled off, according to the study, which is scheduled for presentation Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "Our research confirms that chronic daily pain ... continues to be a burden for limb-injured servicemen, that post-traumatic stress is a far more prominent feature of recovery than in other chronic pain populations and that returning to a meaningful role functioning in their lives is challenging for many," study leader Dr. Rollin ... Read more

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Newly Hired Emergency Workers Who Witness Trauma May Struggle Afterward

Posted 8 Mar 2013 by

FRIDAY, March 8 – Repeated exposure to disturbing events can raise the risk of mental health problems in police officers and firefighters who are new to the job, a new study finds. There is no such increased risk among those who have been in their jobs for a longer period of time, however, said the researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore. They also found that police, firefighters and other protective services workers do not have higher rates of mental health problems than people in other occupations. For the study, the researchers analyzed data from the U.S. National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions to compare rates of mental health problems, such as mood, anxiety and alcohol use disorders, among different groups of workers. The findings appear in the February issue of the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health ... Read more

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