Items in AFP with MESH term: Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
ABSTRACT: Although post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating anxiety disorder that may cause significant distress and increased use of health resources, the condition often goes undiagnosed. The lifetime prevalence of PTSD in the United States is 8 to 9 percent, and approximately 25 to 30 percent of victims of significant trauma develop PTSD. The emotional and physical symptoms of PTSD occur in three clusters: re-experiencing the trauma, marked avoidance of usual activities, and increased symptoms of arousal. Before a diagnosis of PTSD can be made, the patient's symptoms must significantly disrupt normal activities and last for more than one month. Approximately 80 percent of patients with PTSD have at least one comorbid psychiatric disorder. The most common comorbid disorders include depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and other anxiety disorders. Treatment relies on a multidimensional approach, including supportive patient education, cognitive behavior therapy, and psychopharmacology. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the mainstay of pharmacologic treatment.
ABSTRACT: Natural disasters, technologic disasters, and mass violence impact millions of persons each year. The use of primary health care services typically increases for 12 or more months following major disasters. A conceptual framework for assisting disaster victims involves understanding the individual and environmental risk factors that influence post-disaster physical and mental health. Victims of disaster will typically present to family physicians with acute physical health problems such as gastroenteritis or viral syndromes. Chronic problems often require medications and ongoing primary care. Some victims may be at risk of acute or chronic mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or alcohol abuse. Risk factors for post-disaster mental health problems include previous mental health problems and high levels of exposure to disaster-related stresses (e.g., fear of death or serious injury, exposure to serious injury or death, separation from family, prolonged displacement). An action plan should involve adequate preparation for a disaster. Family physicians should educate themselves about disaster-related physical and mental health threats; cooperate with local and national organizations; and make sure clinics and offices are adequately supplied with medications and suture and casting material as appropriate. Physicians also should plan for the care and safety of their own families.
Screening Instruments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - Point-of-Care Guides
ABSTRACT: The care of a patient in the intensive care unit extends well beyond his or her hospitalization. Evaluation of a patient after leaving the intensive care unit involves a review of the hospital stay, including principal diagnosis, exposure to medications, period spent in the intensive care unit, and history of prolonged mechanical ventilation. Fatigue should prompt evaluation for possible anemia, nutritional deficits, sleep disturbance, muscular deconditioning, and neurologic impairment. Other common problems include poor appetite with possible weight loss, falls, and sexual dysfunction. Psychological morbidities, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder, and depression also often occur in the post-intensive care unit patient. These conditions are more common among patients with a history of delirium, prolonged sedation, mechanical ventilation, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The physician should gain an understanding of the patient's altered quality of life, including employment status, and the state of his or her relationships with loved ones or the primary caregiver. As in many aspects of medicine, a multidisciplinary treatment approach is most beneficial to the post-intensive care unit patient.
Sexual Assault of Women - Article
ABSTRACT: Sexual violence affects up to one third of women during their lifetime. Sexual assault is underreported, and more than one half of assaults are committed by someone known to the survivor. Although both men and women can be sexually assaulted, women are at greatest risk. Some groups are more vulnerable, including adolescents; survivors of childhood sexual or physical abuse; persons who are disabled; persons with substance abuse problems; sex workers; persons who are poor or homeless; and persons living in prisons, institutions, or areas of military conflict. Family physicians care for sexual assault survivors immediately and years after the assault. Immediate care includes the treatment of injuries, prophylaxis for sexually transmitted infections, administration of emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy, and the sensitive management of psychological issues. Family physicians should collect evidence for a “rape kit” only if they are experienced in treating persons who have been sexually assaulted because of the legal ramifications of improper collection and storage of evidence. Sexual assault may result in long-term mental and physical health problems. Presentations to the family physician may include self-destructive behaviors, chronic pelvic pain, and difficulty with pelvic examinations. Prevention of sexual assault is societal and should focus on public health education. Safety and support programs have been shown to reduce sexual assaults.
A Burn That Keeps Hurting - Close-ups
Care of the Returning Veteran - Article
ABSTRACT: Of the 23.8 million military veterans living in the United States, approximately 3 million have served in Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom. The injuries and illnesses that affect veterans returning from combat are predictable. Blast injuries are common and most often present as mild traumatic brain injury, which is synonymous with concussion. Family physicians caring for returning veterans will also encounter conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder at rates higher than those in the general population. The symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injury often overlap and can present concurrently. Treatment of traumatic brain injury should be based on symptoms and guided by clinical practice guidelines from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense. Family physicians should understand the range of post-war health concerns and screen returning service members for posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, suicidality, and clinical depression. Family physicians are well positioned to offer continuity of care for issues affecting returning service members and to coordinate the delivery of specialized care when needed. (Am Fam Physician. 2010;82(1):43-49. Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Family Physicians.)
ABSTRACT: Despite improvements in road conditions, vehicle safety and driver education, over 3 million persons are injured in motor vehicle accidents each year. Many of these persons develop post-traumatic stress symptoms that can become chronic. Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder experience disabling memories and anxiety related to the traumatic event. Early identification of these patients is critical to allow for intervention and prevent greater impairment and restriction. The family physician is in an ideal position to identify, treat or refer patients with traumatic responses to traffic accidents. The physician's awareness of patient characteristics and pre-accident functioning allows him or her to critically evaluate symptoms that may begin to interfere with the resumption of daily activities.
Nightmares and Disorders of Dreaming - Article
ABSTRACT: Dreams occur during all stages of sleep. Nightmares are common. They can be associated with poor sleep and diminished daytime performance. Frequent nightmares are not related to underlying psychopathology in most children and in some "creative" adults. However, recurrent nightmares are the most defining symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder and may be associated with other psychiatric illnesses. Night terrors are arousal disorders that occur most often in children and usually occur early in the sleep period. Patients with rapid-eye-movement behavior disorder often present with nocturnal injury resulting from the acting out of dreams. Dream disorders may respond to medication, but behavioral treatment approaches have shown excellent results, particularly in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and recurrent nightmares.
ABSTRACT: Post-traumatic stress disorder, a psychiatric disorder, arises following exposure to perceived life-threatening trauma. Its symptoms can mimic those of anxiety or depressive disorders, but with appropriate screening, the diagnosis is easily made. Current treatment strategies combine patient education; pharmacologic interventions, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, trazodone and clonidine; and psychotherapy. As soon after the trauma as possible, techniques to prevent the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as structured stress debriefings, should be administered. A high index of suspicion for post-traumatic stress disorder is needed in patients with a history of significant trauma.