Baseline Psychiatric Status Tied to Postdeployment PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder more likely in those with mental health disorder, severe injury

TUESDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- Psychiatric status at baseline and deployment-related physical injuries are correlated with screening positive for postdeployment posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, according to a study published in the May issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Donald A. Sandweiss, M.D., M.P.H., from the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, and colleagues prospectively assessed the correlation between predeployment psychiatric status and injury severity with postdeployment PTSD. Participants included U.S. service members who completed a questionnaire at baseline (July 2001 to June 2003), were deployed in support of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and then completed at least one follow-up questionnaire (June 2004 through February 2006 or May 2007 through December 2008). A total of 1,840 participants were identified with PTSD at follow-up, and 183 had a documented deployment-related physical injury. Self-reported health information was used to examine the correlation between baseline psychiatric status and follow-up PTSD.

The investigators found that individuals with one or more defined baseline mental health disorders had 2.52 times greater odds of screening positive for PTSD symptoms. In addition, the odds of screening positive for symptoms of PTSD were 16 percent greater for each three-unit increase in the Injury Severity Score. Self-reported preinjury psychiatric status was significantly correlated with PTSD at follow-up, regardless of injury severity.

"A screening result positive for a baseline psychiatric disorder and deployment-related physical injuries is associated with postdeployment PTSD," the authors write.

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