Trauma: the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Trauma has an enormous impact on both individuals and society as a whole. Recognition of the extent of this impact by the medical profession has been relatively slow but, with our growing appreciation of the prevalence of trauma exposure in civilian as well as combat populations, the true scale of trauma-related psychiatric consequences is beginning to emerge. It has been reported that more than 60% of men and 51% of women experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetimes. Of these, 8% and 20%, respectively, fall victim to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) indicating that more women are at risk for developing PTSD. Individuals experience severe psychiatric stress that is compounded by significant comorbid illness. This impacts critically upon quality of life resulting in grave functional and emotional impairment. In addition, there is a detrimental cost to society with high financial and social consequences from the significantly elevated rates of hospitalization, suicide attempts and alcohol abuse.
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