Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Risk of PTSD Is Higher in Those with History of Family Problems

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Risk of PTSD Is Higher in Those with History of Family Problems

Article excerpt

SAN DIEGO -- A high proportion of America's youth experience or witness a violent event, and a family history of substance abuse or mental health problems increase the risk that these youth will develop posttraumatic stress disorder or depression.

Those are the findings of a 7-to 8-year follow-up of subjects in the National Survey of Adolescents, Rochelle F. Hanson, Ph.D., said at a conference sponsored by the Chadwick Center for Children and Families at Children's Hospital and Health Center, San Diego.

The follow-up found that both experiencing/witnessing violence and a family history of substance abuse, mental health problems, or depression could put an adolescent at risk of PTSD or depression. They carry a risk individually, but in combination are worse. And clinicians who care for a victim should be aware of this, said Dr. Hanson, the director of clinical operations at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston.

"It is important to assess family environment because it does seem to be associated with risk for later mental health problems," she said.

The follow-up reinterviewed 1,753 of the survey's initial 4,023 subjects, who were interviewed first when they were adolescents. …

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