PTSD - Outlook

The duration of symptoms of post traumatic stressRelating to injury or concern. disorder (PTSD) varies depending on the characteristics of the trauma experienced (for example, its intensity), and from person to person (the way a person interprets the trauma can also have an impact on the intensity of symptoms).[1]

Early treatment and ongoing social support are important aspects in ensuring a full and speedy recovery.[1]

People with PTSD also have a higher prevalence of conditions such as anxiety disorders and substance abuse, and research suggests that they may be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease.[2,3] These conditions can hinder recovery.

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Factors associated with positive outcomes

Certain conditions are associated with positive outcomes among people with PTSD. These include:[1]

  • Early treatment
  • Ongoing social support
  • Good functioning before the traumatic event
  • A lack of other psychiatric disorders or substance abuse.

Conversely, factors associated with the persistence of symptoms include:[4]

  • The occurrence of new traumatic events
  • Higher rates of anxiety.

The course of PTSD

For most people with PTSD, symptoms begin immediately after the traumatic event. However, in a small proportion (around ten percent), the onset of symptoms is delayed.[3]

On average, people who receive treatment for PTSD experience symptoms for around 36 months, while those who do not receive treatment experience symptoms for 64 months.[1]

While many people who have PTSD recover within the first year after the traumatic event, research suggests that a significant proportion will continue to have symptoms for years afterwards. However, it is important to remember that treatment is available, and can improve the chances of a full recovery.[3,4]

Other health problems

Some research has suggested that PTSD may be associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. This is because of changes in the activity of the nervous system, which may indirectly lead to changes in the way the bloodA fluid that transports oxygen and other substances through the body, made up of blood cells suspended in a liquid. clots.[2] However, further research is needed to clarify whether this is indeed a greater risk among people with PTSD.

There is a much greater risk of substance abuse among people with PTSD - in fact, 60 to 80 percent of people with this condition also abuse substances such as alcohol and drugs like opiates and marijuana.[2,3]

People with PTSD also have a high prevalence of anxiety disorders. It is not known whether PTSD increases the risk of anxiety disorders or vice versa.[3]

  1. Grinage BD. Diagnosis and management of post-traumatic stressRelating to injury or concern. disorder. Am Fam Physician 2003; 68: 2401-8,2409.
  2. Bedi US and Arora R. Cardiovascular manifestations of posttraumatic stressRelating to injury or concern. disorder. Journal of the National Medical Association 2007; 99: 642-9.
  3. Semple D and Smyth R. Oxford Handbook of Psychiatry 2009; 2nd Edition.
  4. Wittchen HU, Gloster A, Beesdo K et al. Posttraumatic stressRelating to injury or concern. disorder: diagnostic and epidemiological perspectives. CNS Spectr. 2009; 14: 1(Suppl 1): 5-12.