Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Trauma, Slow-Healing Wounds: A Connection? German Study Offers Insights

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Trauma, Slow-Healing Wounds: A Connection? German Study Offers Insights

Article excerpt

WAIKOLOA, HAWAII -- A very small but well-designed German study raises intriguing questions about the potential long-term effects of emotional trauma on the body's ability to heal.

Dr. Rupert Conrad and his associates at the University of Bonn conducted extensive psychological tests on 14 postsurgical patients with medically unexplained delays in wound healing, comparing their backgrounds with those of 22 patients from the same postsurgical ward whose wounds healed well.

The idea for the study came to Dr. Conrad, a psychiatrist, when he was consulted by a plastic surgeon regarding a patient whose wounds would not heal despite myriad interventions. He discovered that the patient had previously experienced severe emotional trauma that had never been fully resolved. After psychosocial intervention, the patient's condition improved, he said at a meeting sponsored by the International College of Psychosomatic Medicine.

Previous studies have identified links between acute stress and delayed wound healing in caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients and in students taking final examinations. …

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