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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163

Abstract

IVANOV, Marie-Laure et al. Screening for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a psychiatric emergency setting. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2012, vol.26, n.3, pp.159-168. ISSN 0213-6163.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4321/S0213-61632012000300002.

Background and Objectives: (i) to assess the prevalence of PTSD in a psychiatric emergency setting by means of a diagnostic instrument and to compare it with PTSD-prevalence of a clinically evaluated, historical sample; and (ii) to assess psychiatric residents´ perception of the systematic use of this diagnostic instrument. Methods: A consecutive sample of patients (N = 403) evaluated for a psychiatric emergency was assessed with the module J (PTSD) of the MINI, the historical sample (N = 350), assessed by chart review, consisted of consecutive patients of the same setting evaluated one year prior to the study period. Residents´ perceptions were assessed by means of a focus group. Results: While in only 0.57% of the historical sample (N = 350) a diagnosis of PTSD was recorded, 20.3% (N = 64) of the patients assessed with the diagnostic instrument (N = 316) qualified for a diagnosis of PTSD. Higher prevalence rates were observed in refugees and those without legal residency status (50%); patients from countries with a recent history of war (47.1%); those with four (44.4%) or three psychiatric co-morbidities (35.3%); migrants (29.8%) and patients without professional income (25%). Residents felt that the systematic use of the tool was not adequate in the psychiatric emergency setting for various reasons (e.g.: not suitable for a first or single consultation, negative impact on the clinical evaluation). Conclusions: The study confirms that PTSD is underdiagnosed in the psychiatric emergency setting. To improve the situation, targeted screening or educational and institutional strategies are needed.

Keywords : PTSD; Psychiatric emergencies; Screening.

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