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Remission from post-traumatic stress disorder in the general population

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 December 2011

C. Chapman*
Affiliation:
The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, NSW, Australia
K. Mills
Affiliation:
The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, NSW, Australia
T. Slade
Affiliation:
The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, NSW, Australia
A. C. McFarlane
Affiliation:
Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, University of Adelaide, SA, Australia
R. A. Bryant
Affiliation:
School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, NSW, Australia
M. Creamer
Affiliation:
Australian Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia
D. Silove
Affiliation:
Psychiatry Research and Teaching Unit, School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, NSW, Australia
M. Teesson
Affiliation:
The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, NSW, Australia
*
*Address for correspondence: Dr C. Chapman (Issakidis), National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia. (Email: c.chapman@unsw.edu.au)

Abstract

Background

Few studies have focused on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remission in the population, none have modelled remission beyond age 54 years and none have explored in detail the correlates of remission from PTSD. This study examined trauma experience, symptom severity, co-morbidity, service use and time to PTSD remission in a large population sample.

Method

Data came from respondents (n=8841) of the 2007 Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (NSMHWB). A modified version of the World Health Organization's World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI) was used to determine the presence and age of onset of DSM-IV PTSD and other mental and substance use disorders, type, age, and number of lifetime traumas, severity of re-experiencing, avoidance and hypervigilance symptoms and presence and timing of service use.

Results

Projected lifetime remission rate was 92% and median time to remission was 14 years. Those who experienced childhood trauma, interpersonal violence, severe symptoms or a secondary anxiety or affective disorder were less likely to remit from PTSD and reported longer median times to remission compared to those with other trauma experiences, less severe symptoms or no co-morbidity.

Conclusions

Although most people in the population with PTSD eventually remit, a significant minority report symptoms decades after onset. Those who experience childhood trauma or interpersonal violence should be a high priority for intervention.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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