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Stroke survivors with PTSD more likely to avoid treatment
Date:1/17/2013

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The researchers asked 535 stroke survivors about PTSD symptoms, adherence to medications, and beliefs or concerns about medications. Participants were recruited between March 2010 and January 2012 as part of Mount Sinai Medical School's Preventing Recurrence of All Inner City Strokes through Education (PRAISE) clinical trial in Harlem and the Bronx. Participants were eligible for the trial if they were at least 40 years old and self-reported a history of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) in the prior 5 years (average was 1.9 years after most recent stroke or TIA).

Compared with stroke patients without PTSD symptoms, patients with PTSD felt more ambivalence toward medication, worried more about the long-term effects of medication, and complained about the way medication disrupted their lives. Furthermore, PTSD was associated with somewhat increased belief in the general harm and overuse of medications in the medical system.

Previous research with the same cohort had found that stroke survivors with the most severe PTSD symptoms were nearly three times as likely as those without PTSD symptoms to be nonadherent to medications.

"We believe that these findings suggest that stroke survivors with PTSD do not see their medications as helpful, but rather as reminders of their stroke, and that they avoid taking them as a way to avoid thinking about their stroke," said Donald Edmondson, PhD, assistant professor of behavioral medicine (Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health) and first author of the paper. "We need to conduct further research to determine whether treating a stroke survivor for PTSD would alleviate medication concerns that lead to avoidance, or if additional interventions should be designed to address both issues."


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Contact: Elizabeth Streich
estreich@yahoo.com
212-305-3689
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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