Researchers distinguish types of PTSD for treatment

A new Yale/Mount Sinai study on PTSD may help World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers receive treatments targeted to their symptoms, reports Ahmed Elbenni in Yale Daily News.

The study looked at 4,352 people who responded to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, classifying their symptoms into three ‘types’ of PTSD. “High symptom” PTSD was found in 45.3% of those studied. The “high symptom” people displayed all the classic symptoms of PTSD. The 31% labelled “dysphoric,” had depressive symptoms — sleep disturbance and numbness. The 23.2% called “threat” were suffering from recurring intrusive thoughts and flashbacks.

Knowing nuances in symptoms can help target effective treatments.

The study also may have shone some light on causes of PTSD. For example, those in the “threat” category were more likely to have been caught in the dust cloud or have handled human remains than those in the other groups. They also spent more time, on average, at the site of the attack than those with different symptoms. These differences could have led to the “type” of PTSD that manifested.

Several of the researchers involved in this study are already continuing their work on their findings.

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