Psychiatry Fast Five Quiz: What Do You Know About Post-traumatic Stress Disorder?

Stephen Soreff, MD


January 30, 2017

Prognosis in PTSD varies widely. Rarely, even with intensive intervention, individuals experience worsening symptoms and commit suicide, a graphic reminder of how difficult PTSD symptoms can be for the patient. The average duration of symptoms is 36 months in patients who receive treatment and 64 months in those who don't. More than one third of people with PTSD never fully recover; for these patients, PTSD is a lifelong disorder.

Factors associated with a good prognosis include:

  • Treatment soon after the traumatic event

  • Early and ongoing social support

  • Avoidance of retraumatization

  • Positive function prior to the event

  • Absence of other psychiatric disorders or substance abuse

Patients who experienced peritraumatic tonic immobility during the traumatic event have a poor response to pharmacologic treatment.

To learn more about the prognosis for PTSD, read here.

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