Results of research conducted by doctors in America suggest early intervention in possible cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or where an individual is at risk of developing PTSD, can greatly reduce the symptoms and reactions associated with the condition.
Post-traumatic stress disorder often stems from experiencing an extremely stressful and traumatic event or series of events. It has long been recognised by practitioners that the condition will often build in intensity as the events are relived and rehearsed over and over again in the mind of the individual suffering from the condition. Medical professionals refer to this process as ‘reconsolidation of memories’.
Experts believe that attempts to intervene in this process and prevent the rehearsal of the events may prevent PTSD or at least limit its extent and seriousness.
In order to investigate the theory Doctors at the Emory University School of Medicine conducted research on those patients admitted to the accident and emergency department of a major hospital after being injured in a traumatic event such as a serious car crash, rape or a violent assault.
Half of those that agreed to take part in the study were given therapy immediately following their experience and periodically thereafter so as to intervene in the process of reconsolidation of traumatic memories and prevent or limit the onset of PTSD. The other half of the study group received no treatment but were periodically assessed to establish whether or not they developed symptoms of PTSD.
The results showed that intervention – involving behavioural therapy – immediately following the traumatic event was effective in reducing post-traumatic stress in patients. Researchers beleive the results of this study have potentially far reaching implications on a number of areas of society.
Dr Barbaa Rothbaum, who led the research, explained: “If we know what to do, then we can train emergency workers to intervene with patients on a large scale. In addition to being implemented in the emergency room, it can help on the battlefield, in natural disasters, or after criminal assaults.”
Currently the military only offers limited professional therapy to soldiers and this rarely takes place in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event such as an IED explosion or a contact with the enemy. However, this study suggests that offering professional therapy and intervention could be effective in limiting the seriousness of the condition. Bearing in mind the growing number of soldiers and veterans suffering from PTSD and the expectation that this number will continue to rise exponentially over the coming years, such intervening therapies could potentially go a long way to reducing suffering and the burden placed on the NHS and armed forces charities.
The results also suggest intervention could be used to treat victims of crime and accident victims, two groups which also include large numbers of people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Holmes & Hills Solicitors has specialist personal injury lawyers experienced in successfully making claims for PTSD compensation on behalf of soldiers, veterans, accident victims and victims of crime across the UK. If you have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or believe you may have the condition, you may be entitled to compensation.
To find out if you are entitled to compensation call us on 01376 529299 and speak with one of our solicitors. We will give you free initial advice and tell you whether you may be able to make a no win, no fee PTSD compensation claim.
For more information on our PTSD compensation claim services, see our PTSD compensation claim page. Alternatively, for PTSD claims relating to the military see our Military PTSD compensation claims page