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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163


FRIAS IBANEZ, Álvaro; PALMA SEVILLANO, Carolina; GINE SERVEN, Eloi  and  ALUCO SANCHEZ, Elena. Trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder and psychosis: etiopatho­genic and nosological implications. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2014, vol.28, n.1, pp.27-38. ISSN 0213-6163.

Background and Objectives: The relationship between trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and psychosis has promoted heterogeneous research lines, in both etiopathogenic and nosological areas. The main aim of this review is to provide a systematic framework that encompasses this theoretical gap in the literature. Methods: A literature research was carried out through PubMed and PsycINFO between 1980 and May 2013. One hundred and thirteen articles were recruited. A first part of this review describes the role of trauma in the development of psychosis. The second part focuses on research about PTSD and psychosis. Results: Longitudinal and cross-sectional studies with clinical and community samples confirm that childhood trauma (CT) is a vulnerability factor for schizophrenia and psychotic-like symptoms in adulthood. More empirical research is needed in order to assess the role of trauma as precipitant of acute psychosis. There is also preliminary evidence with cross-sectional samples that suggests that PTSD and psychosis are a risk factor for each other, with studies about post-psychotic PTSD (PP-PTSD) being outstanding. Finally, results from different comparative research studies postulate a subtype of PTSD with psychotic features (PTSD-SP). Conclusions: The role of trauma in psychosis is more conclusive as predispositional rather than as trigger factor. Nosological status of acute psychoses remains a focus of controversy unresolved. The association between PTSD and psychosis is complex, requiring more prospective research in order to determine causal relationships between these pathologies. Also, research in nosological status of PTSD-SP must encourage more comparative studies not limited to neurobiological variables.

Keywords : Trauma; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Psychosis.

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