Via Canada.com: Medical journal author calls for better PTSD diagnosis among soldiers and veterans. The article itself, unfortunately, is behind a paywall. Excerpt:
Many family doctors may not know how to assess post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in patients, according to an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The article, which appears in Monday’s issue of the journal, also offers practical advice for family physicians dealing with patients who are veterans.
The advice comes on the heels of four PTSD-linked suicides of Canadian soldiers within the span of a week. The apparent rash of deaths has prompted Canadian veterans suffering from PTSD — an anxiety disorder caused from witnessing a traumatic event — to share their stories and plead for more federal dollars to help current and former soldiers with mental illnesses.
Author Allison Crawford, from the University of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, noted in her piece that there’s “no clear evidence of an elevated risk of mental health problems related to military deployment per se,” but that patients exposed to traumatic events in the military should be screened for PTSD. She added that many patients “will not spontaneously offer this information.”
She said veterans must be specifically asked about nightmares, feelings of detachment, whether they’re deliberately avoiding thoughts about upsetting events, and whether they’re easily startled.
For patients to be diagnosed with PTSD, they must be reliving traumatic events, avoiding things that trigger negative memories, viewing events in a negative light and experiencing altered behaviour, such as irritability or sleep disturbance, for more than a month. Crawford noted that the majority of patients suffering with PTSD (79 to 88 per cent) also suffer from depression, anxiety or substance abuse and should be screened for these conditions.