Psychotropic Medication Use among Traumatized Individuals with and without Psychiatric Histories

Author(s): Alan R. King*, Sara K. Kuhn, Stephanie Brezinski, Michael Jowkar, Kourtney Smith

Journal Name: Current Psychopharmacology

Volume 8 , Issue 3 , 2019

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Graphical Abstract:


Background: Prescription rates for major classes of psychotropic medication were examined among respondents with and without histories of trauma and PTSD. While traumatized patients access primary health care at higher rates than normative counterparts, the extent to which they rely on psychiatric medications has not been well established.

Methods: This study surveyed college (N=2,320) and national (N=663) respondents. Trauma history was defined using the primary DSM-5 diagnostic criterion for Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder. Four hypotheses were tested: 1) medication reliance was expected to occur more frequently among respondents reporting a trauma history and PTSD than normative counterparts; 2) medication reliance was expected to occur more frequently among respondents reporting a trauma history without PTSD than normative (no trauma) counterparts; 3) gender differences in these associations between trauma exposure and medication history were not expected; 4) associations between trauma exposure and medication history were expected to be similar for college and national respondents.

Results: Support was found for these four hypotheses. Significant associations between self-reported trauma and reliance on psychotropic medications remained even after control of variance associated with gender, sample composition, and PTSD diagnosis. Recollections of a traumatic event as defined by the DSM-V criteria for PTSD increased the odds of being prescribed five different classes of psychiatric medication.

Conclusion: Trauma exposure both with and without co-occurring mental health conditions was associated with higher reliance on psychotrophic medications. The clinical implications of these patterns remain unclearly delineated. The cross-sectional correlation analyses relied upon in this study precluded meaningful onferences regarding the causality and/or directionality of these relationships.

Keywords: Antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, mood-stabilizing medications, post-traumatic stress disorder, prescription patterns, psychotropic medication, trauma.

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Article Details

Year: 2019
Published on: 13 December, 2019
Page: [194 - 206]
Pages: 13
DOI: 10.2174/2211556008666191003103449

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