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J Clin Psychiatry. 2004;65 Suppl 1:44-8.

Long-term treatment and prevention of posttraumatic stress disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disabling condition almost universally associated with psychiatric comorbidity, reduced quality of life, and a chronic, often lifelong, course. Although acute treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) has been shown to be effective, successful strategies for preventing PTSD have not been established. In addition, studies of the long-term treatment of chronic PTSD are just beginning to emerge. This review considers available evidence for the secondary prevention of PTSD in the acute aftermath of trauma and the long-term treatment of established PTSD. Unanswered questions pertaining to duration of treatment, candidates for long-term treatment, and potentially harmful treatments will also be considered.

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