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Br J Gen Pract. 2004 Nov;54(508):843-7.

General practitioners' knowledge of post-traumatic stress disorder: a controlled study.

Author information

1
Outpatient Psychotherapy Department,Maudsley Hospital, London, England. Calum.Munro@slam.nhs.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common, is associated with substantial morbidity, and is often not recognised in primary care.

AIM:

To explore whether general practitioners (GPs) have significant gaps in their knowledge of PTSD.

DESIGN OF STUDY:

A controlled study.

SETTING:

Primary care in two Scottish regions.

METHOD:

A validated postal questionnaire consisting of clinical vignettes for PTSD, acute stress reaction, and depression was used to gather the data. The primary outcome measures were the proportion describing 'best practice' management of PTSD and the comparison of this with the control condition, the proportion describing 'best practice' management of depression. The secondary outcome measures were comparisons of PTSD and depression by recognition, drug treatment, and referral.

RESULTS:

Two-thirds (67.5%) of GPs included PTSD in their differential diagnosis for the PTSD vignette, and 86.8% made a referral to secondary care for the PTSD case. A minority of GPs (42.9%) and only 54.1% of a comparison group of psychiatrists specified the drug treatment of choice for PTSD, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Only 28.3% of GPs had the knowledge to recognise PTSD and prescribe appropriately, compared with 89.8% for depression (P <0.001). Only 10.2% of GPs described best practice for PTSD, compared with 47.7% for depression (P <0.001).

CONCLUSION:

Lack of knowledge is among the reasons for less than ideal recognition and management of PTSD in primary care. Further research should aim to explore the implementation of PTSD guidelines in primary care.

PMID:
15527610
PMCID:
PMC1324918
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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