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Post-traumatic stress disorder common following significant orthopedic trauma
Date:5/9/2011

pecific behaviors or symptoms, including:

  • re-experiencing the traumatic event, including nightmares, flashbacks and intrusive memories;
  • avoiding situations reminiscent of the original trauma, reluctance to talk or think about the original trauma, or feeling emotionally "numb" about the event; and,
  • anger, irritability, difficulty concentrating, insomnia and/or an increased startle response.

In addition, the symptoms must have occurred for at least one month and they must be severe enough to cause a noticeable change in normal behavior.

PTSD can occur in any person at any age, but Dr. Aaron said several risk factors make PTSD more likely to occur, including:

  • use of drugs or alcohol;
  • less education;
  • lower socioeconomic status;
  • young age; or
  • female gender.

One study also suggests people of Hispanic origin may be at greater risk for PTSD, he added.

"Although no single prevention protocol has been described, therapy with a psychiatrist or psychologist may help, as well as the use of certain medications, including anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications," Dr. Aaron said.

Recognizing the symptoms of PTSD early offers the best chance of effective prevention. Orthopaedic surgeons can improve patient outcomes by knowing which patients are at risk of developing PTSD and initiating prevention strategies, noted Dr. Aaron. Some studies indicate that when PTSD is identified early, progression of the condition may be prevented through use of medications, he added.

"Identifying at-risk patients is an important first step in preventing the ill effects of PTSD," he said. Many orthopaedic surgeons may not recognize the signs and symptoms of PTSD, and remain unaware of prevention and treatment strategies. As a result, recovery can be delayed.

In addition to understanding and evaluating for the risk factors of PTSD, asking patients questions about the e
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Contact: Lauren Pearson
pearson@aaos.org
847-384-4031
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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