Women are more likely than men to suffer post-traumatic stress after leaving an intensive care unit, but follow-up health care and psychological therapy can make a difference, new research shows.
The study, published in the journal Critical Care, noted many ICU patients suffer stress, anxiety or depression after receiving treatment. But researchers from the Karolinska Institutet found female ICU patients who met with a physician and were referred for psychiatric therapy -- three, six and 12 months after being discharged -- had much higher scores on a test that measures post-traumatic stress. Such follow-up had no effect on men, they found.
“In general, for the same event, women are twice as likely to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, recover more slowly, and are more prone to suffer long-term effects,” said Dr. Peter Sackey, who led this study. “We found this was also true in ICU survivors. The women with the highest [PTSD] scores were the ones who were most helped by the follow-up scheme."