And if we do nothing? A new systematic review explores natural PTSD remission rates

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Who naturally recovers from PTSD and why? A recent meta-regression analysis finds an overall natural remission rate for PTSD of 44%, with no increase in remission after longer observation periods.

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Critical illness and risk of psychiatric diagnosis

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Out in the woodland we are pleased that recent advances in medical care mean that more patients are surviving critical illnesses within intensive care units (ICU).  “But what does that have to do with the Mental Elf?” I hear you say. Well, we Mental Elves are wondering whether this advancement in medical technology and technique are actually putting people [read the full story...]

Approximately 1 in 6 children develop PTSD after trauma exposure

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How many children develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after a traumatic experience such as an assault, a car crash, war or disaster? William Yule, one of the godfathers of child traumatic stress research, once pointed out that rates reported in separate studies varied from 0 to 100%. So what is on average the rate [read the full story...]

Moving to better neighbourhoods: bad for boys, good for girls?

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The link between external influences such as family and neighbourhood experiences and young people’s mental health outcomes has been extensively commented on in the literature. While it is more common for studies to focus on the individual or family level, looking at things from a wider perspective is interesting especially from a public mental health [read the full story...]

Trauma exposure is pervasive among US youths

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The media is filled with stories about traumatised children and adolescents, such as the school shootings at Sandy Hook and Columbine. However, a range of more common traumatic events, such as accidents and caregiver maltreatment, receive less attention. We sought to understand how common traumatic experiences are in the lives of U.S. youths by conducting a study examining trauma [read the full story...]

Seeing is believing; how does family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation affect psychological outcomes for family members?

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There are around 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK every year. Some of these events occur in the presence of relatives who may witness the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by the resuscitation team (you can find out more about CPR at the Resuscitation Council’s website). The emotional consequences of this for the relatives and the [read the full story...]

New Australian guidelines for the treatment of ASD and PTSD in children

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Do not use psychological debriefing when a child has been exposed to a traumatic event such as assault or a major car crash. And if you treat a child who has developed Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to trauma, do not use pharmacotherapy either (that is, not as a first line treatment). Rather, apply the [read the full story...]

Concurrent treatments may be effective in treating comorbid alcohol dependence and PTSD

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In those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol abuse or dependence is the most common co-morbid disorder. Unfortunately, although individuals with PTSD and alcohol dependence (AD) often have complex needs, the treatments available usually only target one issue. This is often due to specialist treatment services not having access to treatments for comorbid disorders, and [read the full story...]

Patients with anxiety disorders are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and actions, says recent review

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Suicidal thoughts and actions are typically discussed in relation to depression, but a number of studies have suggested suicide may also be linked to anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders often co-occur with depression, and this may be masking a risk of suicide specifically related to anxiety. Today is World Suicide Prevention Day so it seemed relevant [read the full story...]

We need to know more about how to help adults who have experienced trauma

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People affected by trauma present in a number of different settings (Solomon et. al., 1997), sometimes immediately after the trauma, and sometimes much later when they are experiencing the effects of traumatic stress, depression, anxiety or other mental health difficulties. When trauma leads to an individual developing a post traumatic stress reaction, there is not [read the full story...]