Delayed and immediate onset posttraumatic stress disorder
- Cite this article as:
- Solomon, Z., Mikulincer, M., Waysman, M. et al. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (1991) 26: 1. doi:10.1007/BF00783573
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Delayed PTSD has been the focus of numerous clinical reports. Systematic investigations of this phenomenon are practically nonexistent, however. Utilizing a unique psychiatric register developed by the Israel Defense Forces in the 1982 Lebanon War, this study compared the clinical picture of three groups of veterans: 1. PTSD casualties who sought help at least six months after their exposure to combat; 2. PTSD casualties who sought help during the Lebanon War; and 3. soldiers who emerged from the 1982 war without any diagnosable psychiatric disorder (controls). Significant differences were found in the clinical picture of the study groups. Both treated groups, the delayed and the immediate onset PTSD casualties, showed significantly more trauma-related intrusion and avoidance responses, more severe psychiatric symptomatology, more problems in social fuctioning, and lower perceived self efficacy in combat than non-PTSD controls. However, the psychological and social adjustment of the PTSD veterans whose treatment was delayed was found to be significantly better than that of the immediate onset PTSD veterans. Implications of these findings and recommendations for further research into the significance of time of onset are discussed.