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Prevention of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After Trauma: Current Evidence and Future Directions


Prevention of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After Trauma: Current Evidence and Future Directions

Wei Qi et al. Curr Psychiatry Rep.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a frequent, tenacious, and disabling consequence of traumatic events. The disorder's identifiable onset and early symptoms provide opportunities for early detection and prevention. Empirical findings and theoretical models have outlined specific risk factors and pathogenic processes leading to PTSD. Controlled studies have shown that theory-driven preventive interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or stress hormone-targeted pharmacological interventions, are efficacious in selected samples of survivors. However, the effectiveness of early clinical interventions remains unknown, and results obtained in aggregates (large groups) overlook individual heterogeneity in PTSD pathogenesis. We review current evidence of PTSD prevention and outline the need to improve the disorder's early detection and intervention in individual-specific paths to chronic PTSD.

Keywords: Cognitive behavioral therapy; Early treatment; Pharmacotherapy; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Prevention; Targeted intervention.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Prevention targets for post-traumatic psychopathology. The bottom arrow represents a timeline from pre-to post-trauma. Psychosocial factors and neural-biological mechanisms represent groups of potential targets for intervention. formula image indicates interventions targeting specific elements

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