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1 in 4 Stroke Survivors Suffers from PTSD

By Barbara Bronson Gray

Many of those lucky enough to survive a stroke find that they’re soon faced with another serious challenge. Nearly one-quarter will develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a new study.

The data show that experiencing a life-threatening health crisis can pose serious psychological challenges, said study lead author Donald Edmondson, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

Although post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) typically is associated with combat veterans and sexual assault survivors, the researchers discovered that patients who develop a serious health condition followed by intense treatment may have mental problems that frequently go unrecognized by physicians and family members.

The study, published online June 19 in the journal PLoS ONE, also found that people who develop PTSD after a stroke could have a greater risk for heart problems or another stroke because of the psychological issues they endure.

PTSD is an intense physical and emotional response to a life-threatening or traumatic event. The symptoms fall into three broad types: reliving the event, avoiding usual activities and hyperarousal, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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