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PSTD Common in One in Four Stroke Survivors

Update Date: Jun 20, 2013 10:56 AM EDT

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is most commonly associated with military personnel who have experienced a traumatic episode during wartime. Although PTSD has been tied to war veterans, it is also a prevalent mental disorder for people who have gone through a life altering and highly stressful event. A new study is reporting that PTSD afflicts one in four stroke survivors. Suffering from a stroke can pose serious health issues, such as partial paralysis, and recovering from it can be extremely difficult. Now, doctors and stroke victims might need to incorporate treatment for PTSD as well.

The study, headed by Donald Edmondson, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine from Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, reviewed nine previous studies that researched stroke or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), which occur when blood vessels become blocked and tend to break up and dissolve quickly without damaging the body. These studies gave the research team over 1,100 stroke survivors' information who were once interviewed or administered questionnaires. The researchers found that 23 percent of stroke survivors, ranging from a mini stroke to a larger event, developed PTSD within one year. Another 11 percent had PTSD after a year since the stroke event.

This study's findings help doctors and families understand stroke victims in a different way. By acknowledging the survivors' risk of PTSD, doctors can attend to these patients better and help them deal with the potential risk of developing PTSD. PTSD currently affects around 7.7 million American adults and can lead to complications in one's social life as well as one' overall health. Dealing with and addressing PTSD is extremely important for both the doctors and the patients.

"One in four is a big number," Dr. Ian Kronish, a general internist from Columbia said according to the Los Angeles Times. Kronish was a part of the research team. "Until doing this research, I hadn't really though of PTSD being due to a medical event."

The study was published in PLoS ONE.

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