August 1, 2001

Recognition and Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

JAMA. 2001;286(5):584-588. doi:10.1001/jama.286.5.584

The reports on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in this issue of THE JOURNAL13 draw attention to 3 important facts: PTSD is a worldwide problem, reaching alarming proportions in countries torn by violent conflict; it is associated with persistent disability and comorbidity for many people; and treatments can produce a meaningful reduction in distress. These studies, which tell clinicians not to forget about PTSD, provide the opportunity to focus on what is known about PTSD as a medical problem, and its presentation, recognition, and management. Perhaps the 3 main lessons to be learned are that PTSD often presents in medical disguise, it is largely unrecognized, and it can be treated successfully.

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