An innovative new tool could accurately predict which adults are at risk for post-traumatic stress or depression, and could have a significant beneficial impact on the exorbitant costs of mental health care. The eight question survey is designed to be given to adults immediately after an injury that causes them to seek treatment in a hospital setting. Therese S. Richmond, Ph.D., CRNP, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing conducted a study with her colleagues to determine the accuracy of the survey. She said, “Depression and PTSD exert a significant, independent, and persistent effect on general health, work status, somatic symptoms, adjustment to illness, and function after injury.” The researchers point out that the survey can help determine which injured adults, even those who have suffered only a minor injury, are more likely to develop depression or PTSD and will allow for earlier interventions and treatment.
The survey is simple and easy to administer. Clinicians can easily assess everyone who presents at the hospital with an injury to isolate who is at the greatest risk for mental health problems. They will then be able to educate those people about depression and PTSD and make them aware of the signs and symptoms and advise them to follow up with their primary care doctor if they start to experience any symptoms. The survey will allow for earlier diagnosis and treatment for many people who eventually develop depression or PTSD as a result of an injury. The study was highly accurate, as only five percent of those who reported having a negative risk for developing depression actually did experience depressive symptoms. And none of those surveyed who reported negative for PTSD ever developed symptoms. Not everyone who reports positive for increased risk will actually experience symptoms. However, all people who test positive should be informed of the warning signs should they eventually develop either mental health problem.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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