Psychiatric Co-Morbidities in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Detailed Findings from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey in the English Population
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Abstract: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition which causes great sufferance to the individuals affected. The occurrence of comorbidities in PTSD is a frequent event with a negative impact on outcome. This study investigated the frequency of PTSD in relation to comorbidities by analyzing the results of the 2007 ‘Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey’ in the English population, which included data on comorbidities. A population study conducted in the United Kingdom, this survey investigated the frequency of PTSD in the community and the relationship to comorbidities by adopting a random design to minimize selection bias, stratified by region and socioeconomic characteristics, and weighted according to design and non-response. The survey interviewed 7403 adults living in private households. Socio-demographic characteristics and psychiatric morbidity were systematically assessed. Results indicated that PTSD prevalence was 2.9%, with an excess in women (3.3%) compared to men (2.4%) as reported by the 2007 survey. Comorbidity was a very frequent occurrence in PTSD reaching 78.5% in affected cases. Major depression was the commonest condition and its frequency increased with symptoms severity up to 54%. Among anxiety disorders, social phobia was the most frequent, followed by generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, agoraphobia and panic disorder. Substance use disorders were also common. The presence of psychotic symptoms was particularly significant with over 30% prevalence in PTSD. These results indicate that attention needs to be devoted to the presence of comorbidities. In view of the impact of comorbidities on PTSD severity, chronicity and functional impairment, early detection and treatment are likely to improve outcome.