What Kind Of Responses To Trauma Should Mental Health Practitioners Be Concerned About

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In most discussions of long-term pathologic responses following a traumatic event, there is an implicit assumption that the critical outcome being referred to is PTSD. Yet, PTSD is but one among several possible outcomes following trauma exposure. Trauma survivors, compared to persons who have not experienced trauma, are at increased risk for the development of other mental disorders, such as major depression, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and substance abuse, as well as persistent anxiety symptoms and distress that do not meet criteria for a specific psychological disorder [3]. Furthermore, they are at risk for developing somatic symptoms and physical illnesses, particularly hypertension, asthma, chronic pain syndromes and other psychosomatic illnesses. Interestingly, the focus of most investigations in the wake of disasters that affect large numbers of persons, whether they be natural or man-made events, has been related to PTSD, even though this disorder is neither an inevitable outcome nor a prototypic one (e.g., 5). Because of this, a lack of understanding of the associations between trauma exposure and other potentially detrimental consequences constitutes a major gap in our knowledge. Future studies must utilize a more broadly based evaluation of trauma survivors, both in the acute and chronic aftermath, so as to ensure that the full spectrum and time-course of mental health consequences has been captured.

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Getting to Know Anxiety

Getting to Know Anxiety

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