A new way to monitor PTSD treatment
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a psychologically traumatic event.
Experiencing a life threatening situation or witnessing physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope. In some occupations individuals are more likely to be exposed to these traumas, for instance those engaged in modern warfare or employed in the delivery of emergency services.
PTSD is enduring and symptoms for PTSD include re-experiencing the trauma through flashbacks or nightmares and these symptoms may occur months after the original trauma.
PTSD symptoms are defined by DSM IV which is the consensual view of the American Psychiatric Association. The symptoms should last more than one month and cause significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
My area of research explores the current trauma and any previous trauma an individual may have experienced. This allows me to measure the percentage of trauma persisting and monitor how treatments reduce the symptoms. The key outcome is the pursuit of the most effective and cost effective treatment.