Hidden Risk for Stroke Survivors: PTSD

1 in 4 stroke or mini-stroke survivors develop PTSD within one year
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2013 1:28 PM CDT
Hidden Risk for Stroke Survivors: PTSD
Dr. Paul Nyquist points to spots of possible damage caused by a stroke, on a patient brain, Friday, Oct. 28, 2011.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

On the heels of a study linking heart attacks and PTSD comes evidence that strokes can be lumped into the mix, too. About 23% of stroke and mini-stroke patients will develop post-traumatic stress disorder within a year, while 11% battle the disorder after 12 months, according to a study published in PLoS One. While PTSD is usually linked to sexual assault or war, "there is something different about PTSD after a stroke because the threat is inside your body," study lead, Donald Edmondson, tells USA Today, noting that PTSD may threaten recovery and increase the risk of recurrent strokes.

The research looked at nine studies showing PTSD was brought on by strokes or mini-strokes in 1,138 survivors in Europe and the US. Two studies used clinical diagnosis while the other seven used questionnaires—a drawback, reports the LA Times, since questionnaire diagnoses were not cross-verified. While Edmondson says there are good treatments for PTSD, "first, physicians and patients have to be aware that this is a problem." Click for the full study. (More stroke stories.)

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