PTSD: Fitting the definition

The excellent Anxiety, Addiction and Depression Treatments blog reported on an interesting study last week which suggested that the definition of PTSD needs to be more specific to avoid incorrect diagnosis.

“Based on clinical evidence that severely depressed patients also display many of the symptoms falling under the PTSD label, researchers believe that its definition needs to be refined in order to avoid frequently incorrect diagnoses. In a study of one hundred patients suffering from deep depression, researchers had them answer questions about whether they had experienced some of the varied symptoms of PTSD. To clarify the information given, two independent experts interviewed patients to determine which had undergone events fitting the definition of “traumatic” and whether these events might account for their present states. A majority of the study’s subjects had undergone such trauma, and most of that number also qualified for PTSD diagnoses, but the study’s most important finding was that an equal percentage of the patients without notable traumas could, under the current definition, be classified as suffering from PTSD. Such an overlap, experts say, has the potential to confuse treatments and render them ineffective.”

“Researchers say no clearly distinct biological differences between depression and PTSD have been established, though post-traumatic patients seem to respond differently to certain hormonal therapies. Differences, however subtle, exist between patients suffering from psychological disorders drawn from direct events and those who are clinically depressed, even though the two overlap in terms of observable symptoms and certain treatments may prove effective for both. This study suggests that we have yet to understand the intricacies of PTSD and that, in order to treat it more specifically in the future, we should immediately sponsor additional large-scale research projects with the ultimate goal of making these crucial distinctions at a time when an increasing percentage of our general population and especially our armed forces faces the debilitating effects of post-traumatic stress every day.”

And thank you Sisyphus for my Thinking Blogger nomination!

Posted by: Eleanor

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4 responses to “PTSD: Fitting the definition

  1. xwhenuniversesmeetx

    Very interesting!

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