By On April 1st, 2008

PTSD increases frequency and length of hospitalization in urban communities

It is common knowledge that post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is prevalent in those who have been engaged in military combat. However, what about urban populations? A recent study published in the April issue of Medical Care states that PTSD is common among the urban poor. Furthermore, those with PTSD are more likely to have longer and more hospital stays.

The study focused on a sample of 592 patients at a primary care clinic located in an urban area. Of the patients, 22% had PTSD. This group was found to be twice as likely to have been hospitalized within the past year. According to Dr. Liebschutz, these findings are important because PTSD is “under-recognized and under-treated” in this population. This reality is unfortunate as effective treatments for PTSD are available. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study:

Participants with PTSD had a past-year hospitalization incidence rate ratio of 2.2 (95% CI 1.4 to 3.7) and an incidence rate ratio of 2.6 (95% CI 1.4 to 5.0) for nights spent in hospital. Psychiatric hospitalizations were not counted.

Dr. Liebschutz said in an interview that the findings are important because PTSD is “under-recognized and under-treated” in patients whose condition does not stem from military combat or sexual assault.

She said most earlier research on the ripple effects of PTSD have focused on those populations, not on people whose post-traumatic stress has other sources.

Better recognition of PTSD in urban populations and its negative consequences could improve their long-term health, since effective treatment for PTSD is available, the researchers said.

To get a better sense of the scope of the problem, the researchers enrolled 509 consecutive patients who had previously visited the clinic and consented to participate, and an additional 98 oversampled for alcohol and drug use and irritable bowel syndrome to enable previously planned subgroup analyses.

Click here to read the rest of this article from Medpage Today

Click here for information on the treatment of PTSD

Pastoral Action Point: Understanding that PTSD effects people in urban areas helps to dispel the myth that only those who have been engaged in combat or some other tumultuous event experience the disorder. This truth increases awareness of the diversity of behavioral health issues that individuals encounter state side.

Click here for an informative guide to help identify signs of PTSD

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