Moving from universal to selective prevention: results of a web-based early intervention for PTSD

Joanne MouthaanThis is a post by Joanne Mouthaan. As a PhD candidate, Joanne conducted a large prospective longitudinal trial of mental health in traumatic injury patients in Amsterdam. Now in the final stage of her thesis, she is working as a lecturer at the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology of Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Our team’s goal is to gain more insight into a) the incidence and development of mental health problems after injury, b) possible bio/psycho/social factors contributing to these problems, and c) prevention of mental health problems by intervening early. From 2005 to 2010, we recruited approximately 900 patients from two level-1 trauma centers (the Academic Medical Center and the VU University Medical Center). Regarding the issue of prevention, we developed a web-based early psychological intervention called Trauma TIPS, the main subject of this post.

Traumatic injury and PTSD

Around the world, traumatic injury is one of the most common traumatic events, accounting for 9% of global mortality. Because of its high incidence, injuries cause millions of people to experience (temporary or permanent) disabilities on a yearly basis, including mental health problems (see http://www.who.int/topics/injuries/en/). PTSD develops in 10-20% of injury patients. Therefore, prevention of PTSD has been mentioned by some as the holy grail of trauma research. Continue reading

Does self-help treatment for anxiety disorders work?

This blogpost has recently appeared on the Mental Elf blog. I thought it may interest you as it focuses on self-management for anxiety disorders, including Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Many people struggle with anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, social phobia, and PTSD. Moreover, about 30% of us have an anxiety disorder at some point in our life (Kessler et al 2005) but most people never receive treatment.

Self-help interventions may provide a solution when people are unable or unwilling to participate in face-to-face treatment: waiting lists don’t have to be an issue, there is no need to travel to appointments, and costs can be low.

But do these interventions work? And if so, how well do they work compared to face-to-face treatment? Continue reading