Hospitals don't watch for PTSD: new research

According to research by AMC in Amsterdam, one in six victims of a serious accident develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Hospitals don't pay attention to this, causing victims to go about untreated.

AMC, the University of Amsterdam and the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam published a report on this matter today. In the report trauma doctors, professors, psychiatrists and psychologists advocate for screening for psychological problems after serious accidents.

"We often get children in a year or two after an accident. This is late. These children are anxious or under pressure, sometimes they don't dare to cross a street." says Ramon Lindauer, head of child and adolescent psychiatry AMC. "They have concentration problems, they don't sleep and fall behind in school."

Every year in the Netherlands 770 thousand people end up in the emergency room with injuries after an accident. Research by AMC shows that 16 percent of serious injury victims develop PTSD in the first year. They suffer from sleep disorders, reliving, extreme tension and irritability.

Right after an accident almost everyone suffer from acute stress symptoms, says Lindauer. This must decrease with time. If it doesn't, PTSD develops. This is often not recognized because doctors at hospitals are mainly engaged in physical rehabilitation.

Trauma specialists do note that screening should be done carefully as too much attention can be harmful. It was evident after the Bijlmer disaster that people who had many debriefing interviews were worse off than those who received less attention, Volkskrant reports.