Chronic post-traumatic stress disorder in women linked to history of rape, child abuse

November 29, 2011

A Florida State University clinical psychologist has identified factors that could cause some women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to have chronic, persistent symptoms while others recover naturally over time.

At the conclusion of a two-year study of women from across the nation, Assistant Professor Jesse R. Cougle found that those with PTSD who reported a history of rape or severe childhood physical abuse were more likely to suffer chronic PTSD symptoms. What's more, women who reported more "re-experiencing" symptoms, such as nightmares and flashbacks, at the initial assessment were more likely to suffer from persistent PTSD symptoms two years after the study began.

"What makes our findings unique is the recovery component," Cougle said. "Most studies of this kind have looked at risk and resiliency or the factors that determine who develops PTSD and who doesn't. We studied factors that influence recovery, or lack thereof, in a sample with PTSD."

"What we found,interestingly, is that more than half of the women in our sample -- 58 percent -- recovered within two years," Cougle said.

Most people will experience at least one potentially traumatic event during their lifetimes that could result in PTSD. Knowing the factors that predict chronic PTSD will help to identify people who are most in need of assistance and treatment after suffering a traumatic event.

Cougle also found that about half of the women who recovered from PTSD during the study did so without any sort of professional treatment.

"Some women have a natural capacity to recover from PTSD," Cougle said. "They won't require treatment to get better."

Cougle's research, "Factors Associated with Chronicity in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Prospective Analysis of a National Sample of Women," has been published in the journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy. He conducted the study with Medical University of South Carolina psychiatry professors Heidi Resnick and Dean G. Kilpatrick.

In addition to re-experiencing symptoms, a PTSD diagnosis includes avoidance and numbing, such as efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings or conversations associated with the trauma; efforts to avoid activities, places or people that arouse recollections of the trauma; an inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma; and feelings of emotional detachment. Additional symptoms include hyperarousal,such as difficulty concentrating; difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability; and hypervigilance.
-end-


Florida State University

Related PTSD Articles from Brightsurf:

'Brain fog' following COVID-19 recovery may indicate PTSD
A new report suggests that lingering ''brain fog'' and other neurological symptoms after COVID -19 recovery may be due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an effect observed in past human coronavirus outbreaks such as SARS and MERS.

PTSD may double risk of dementia
People who have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are up to twice as likely to develop dementia later in life, according to a new study by UCL researchers, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

How building features impact veterans with PTSD
The built environment, where someone lives (private) or works (public), influences a person's daily life and can help, or hinder, their mental health.

Work-related PTSD in nurses
A recent Journal of Clinical Nursing analysis of published studies examined the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among nurses and identified factors associated with work-related PTSD among nurses.

PTSD and moral injury linked to pregnancy complications
Elevated symptoms of PTSD and moral injury can lead to pregnancy complications, found a Veterans Affairs study of women military veterans.

Early treatment for PTSD after a disaster has lasting effects
In 1988, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck near the northern Armenian city of Spitak.

Cyberbullying Linked to Increased Depression and PTSD
Cyberbullying had the impact of amplifying symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in young people who were inpatients at an adolescent psychiatric hospital, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Psychedelic drugs could help treat PTSD
Clinical trials suggest treatment that involves psychedelics can be more effective than psychotherapy alone.

Which is more effective for treating PTSD: Medication, or psychotherapy?
A systematic review and meta-analysis led by Jeffrey Sonis, MD, MPH, of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, finds there is insufficient evidence at present to answer that question.

Cannabis could help alleviate depression and suicidality among people with PTSD
Cannabis may be helping Canadians cope with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), new research suggests.

Read More: PTSD News and PTSD Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.