Worries 'at risk of developing PTSD'

18 December 2012

People who are seemingly predisposed to worrying all the time are at a greater risk of experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to new research.

Academics at Michigan State University (MSU) reported that while PTSD is an anxiety disorder that is born out of experiencing very stressful, alarming and upsetting events, worrying can also trigger the same symptoms.

Naomi Breslau, a professor of epidemiology at MSU and the author of the study, said that of the people who experience traumatic events, only a small number of people actually develop PTSD.

"So the question is, 'What’s the difference between those who develop PTSD and the majority who don’t,'" Prof Breslau stated.

"This paper says people who are habitually anxious are more vulnerable. It’s an important risk factor."

Participants to the study were given 12 questions to answer that would help researchers gauge neuroticism, whose symptoms are chronic anxiety, depression and predilection to overreact to everyday happenings.

It was revealed that those who scored higher on this test were more likely to be among the regular five per cent who develop PTSD.

"There have been studies of neuroticism and PTSD, but they’ve all been retrospective," said Prof Breslau. “We’re never sure of the order of things in a retrospective study. This study sets it in a clear time order.”

Posted by Edward Bartel

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