Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Library
The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Library provides reliable and up to date information from systematic reviews on around 200 topics relating to PTSD. The topics cover symptoms, treatments, diagnosis, risk factors, outcomes, co-occurring ‘comorbid’ conditions, epidemiology (population perspective), and the physical features of PTSD.
There are two levels of information on each topic. The first is a brief Factsheet that provides general information describing the area examined and the evidence that is available. The second is a Technical Commentary that provides more detail on each topic’s background, methods and results. Printable PDFs of factsheets and technical tables are available to download from each topic page.
Topics can be sourced by using the drop-down browse menu or search bar on the left, or by clicking on the tabs below. You can also view the content by clicking the black arrows on the left-hand side of the category or topic name.
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Assessment and diagnosis
For a person to be diagnosed with PTSD, exposure to at least one trauma is required, along with symptoms of intrusion, avoidance, hyperarousal, and negative cognitions and mood (e.g., self-blame, persistent negative beliefs and expectations about oneself). This category contains information about diagnosis of PTSD, and assessment tools for measuring symptoms. Click on the tabs below to access the evidence, or navigate through the topics via the section on the left.
Signs and symptoms
This category provides information about the signs and symptoms of PTSD. These include unwanted and upsetting memories, nightmares, flashbacks, and emotional distress and/or physical reactivity after exposure to reminders. There may also be problems with sleep, depression, anxiety, and cognition, including poor attention and difficulty processing new information. Click on the tabs below to explore the current evidence on each of these factors, or navigate through the topics via the section on the left. Image: ©Leremy - shutterstock.com
Psychological treatments are considered first-line treatment for PTSD. These include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), exposure and cognitive therapies, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR). These are sometimes combined with pharmacological treatments, including antidepressants, which may also be administered without accompanying therapies. This category covers both pharmacological and psychological treatments, as well as alternative physical treatments such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Click on the tabs below to access the evidence, which is separated into physical treatments (pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatments), and psychosocial treatments (individual therapies and therapies for particular groups or symptoms). You can also navigate through the topics via the section on the left. Image: ©freshidea - stock.adobe.com
The primary risk factor for PTSD is exposure to trauma. Exposure to various traumas can lead to PTSD, including accidents, war and terrorism, and violence and abuse. Personal characteristics can also determine who will develop PTSD following exposure to trauma. These include personality traits, support network, and cognitive and psychological factors such as resilience. To access the evidence on trauma and personal characteristics associated with risk for PTSD, click on the tabs below or navigate through the topics via the section on the left. Image: ©Orlando Florin Rosu - stock.adobe.com
Illness course and outcomes
The course and outcomes of disorders vary widely between individuals. This category considers the course of PTSD and outcomes that affect day to day life. Click on the tabs below to access the evidence, or navigate via the drop-down section on the left.
Insights for families
Families of people with PTSD may also be affected by the disorder if they have also experienced a traumatic event. Caring for a person with PTSD can also impact on one's mental health. Click on the tab below to access the evidence on the impact of PTSD on families. Image: ©BillionPhotos.com
People with a mental disorder can have physical alterations to their central nervous system. In this category these alterations have been organised into functional and structural changes. Image: ©stock.adobe.com
People with PTSD may also have co-occurring ("comorbid") diseases and disorders. This topic covers common co-occurring mental and physical disorders. Image: ©Maksym Dykha - Fotolia - stock.adobe.com
A population perspective provides epidemiological estimations of the prevalence and incidence of PTSD in different populations and regions worldwide. Click on the tabs below to access the incidence and prevalence topics, or browse the topics via the section on the left. You can also search for a topic using the search icon on the left.
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Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.