May 26, 2015 — As clinicians and researchers begin to grasp the great toll of unrecognized and under-treated trauma to not only individuals, but society at large, recognition of the need to better diagnose and treat trauma related disorders is intensifying.
In a just released special issue of the European Journal of Psychotraumatology, a group of leading researchers in the field of traumatic stress studies has written a collection of articles identifying gaps in the collective knowledge pertaining to trauma-related disorders. In the supplement, titled Trauma and PTSD: setting the research agenda, the authors offer direction for where research efforts should be concentrated to continue moving the field forward.
The journal’s editor-in-chief, Miranda Olff, co-authored the editorial along with one of the articles in the supplement. Olff also currently serves as Head of the Center for Psychological Trauma, Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam; and a professor at Arq Psychotrauma Expert Group, Diemen.
“PTSD and other trauma-related negative outcomes are highly prevalent and debilitating consequences of trauma,” she wrote in the editorial. “Yet, we still know little about their hallmark symptoms and symptom structure, their underlying neurobiology, their (subclinical) expression, or about biases in reporting.”
“Improving diagnoses, treatment and outcomes — alleviating the suffering of those experiencing the trauma – depends on our learning more and deepening our understanding of trauma,” she said. “And this requires more research; with this issue, we hope to provide suggestions for both funders and applicants of new research grants.”
Among the topics the authors address in the supplement:
• The basic features of traumatic stress responses, flashbacks in particular;
• The structure of PTSD; classifying symptoms;
• Patient suffering due to “subthreshold diagnosis” – or partial PTSD;
• The perception of PTSD in legal settings;
• Trauma-related dissociation, altered states of consciousness and their neurobiological substrate;
• Early, repeated life adversity and its relationship to complex PTSD in both children and adults;
• The recognition of differences in PTSD symptoms in trauma populations and the need for tailored interventions;
• The need for valid psychometric measures in the treatment of prolonged grief disorder; and
• Developments in mobile health (m-health) applications targeting trauma screening, assessment, prevention, and treatment.
All articles in the supplement are freely available in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology online.
The European Journal of Psychotraumatology (EJPT) aims to engage scholars, clinicians and researchers in the crucial discourse about how to prevent post-traumatic stress syndrome and other trauma disorders, and how to intervene in the wide spectrum of post-traumatic situations using the latest research in these areas.Tags: EJPT, European Journal of Psychotraumatology, Miranda Olff, PTSD, PTSD research