PTSD in stroke patients could impede recovery

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that results from experiencing a traumatic event such as surviving and receiving treatment for an acute life threatening event such as a stroke.

It is estimated that up to 20 percent of stroke survivors suffer from PTSD which is marked by memory problems, sleep disturbances, panic attacks, social anxiety and hypersensitive to potential indications of another stroke occurring.

This latest research has suggested that individuals who suffered PTSD after a stroke have significantly impaired recovery rates as they are less likely to adhere to secondary prevention efforts. According to the results that were collected researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, 65 percent of stroke survivors who had symptoms of PTSD failed to adhere to treatment, this was double that of stroke survivors who did not suffer from PTSD.

The findings are hugely important as they highlight the need to provide extra psychological care for individuals who have suffered a stroke and are dealing with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Further research needs to be undertaken if the same patterns occur in individuals with other acute illnesses such as cancer and acute coronary syndrome (ACS) where PTSD is known to affect some survivors.

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