Massage therapy could ameliorate symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including stress and heightened blood pressure. New research is indicating that people who experience medical illness suffer higher rates of PTSD than those who do not experience medical illness.

Rhematiological diseases, myocardial infarction and critical illness/intensive care unit (ICU) treatment are “likely traumatic stressors,” the researchers noted in an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov, and “PTSD is particularly common among survivors of critical illness and ICU treatment.”

The researchers noted that further research is needed to determine how specific ICU interventions, such as administration of benzodiazepines, corticosteroids and catecholamines affect PTSD risk.

“In the meantime, given the negative impact of PTSD on patients’ quality of life, it is important for psychiatrists and other clinicians to be aware of the syndrome in survivors of critical illness so as to ensure that such patients receive the care that they deserve,” they added.

The study was conducted by researches from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Medical Settings: Focus on the Critically Ill” ran in Current Psychiatry Reports (2010 Oct 28.)

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