Progression of hallucinatory experiences in those with post-traumatic stress disorder

Poster B121, Tuesday, October 9, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

John Fitzgerald1, Elizabeth Thompson2, Emily Kline3, Caroline Demro1, Zachary Millman1, Pamela Rakhshan1, Kristin Bussell4, Gloria Reeves4, Jason Schiffman1; 1University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2Alpert Medical School, Brown University, 3Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 4University of Maryland School of Medicine

Trauma in early life has been posited as a significant environmental predictor for the later onset of psychotic symptoms. Prior studies have shown trauma prevalence to be significantly higher in those with psychotic disorders when compared to both psychiatric and familial controls, with similar rates of trauma among those with attenuated symptoms. The current study analyzed the progression of psychotic-spectrum symptoms in a sample of help-seeking participants (12-22) with post-traumatic stress disorder (n = 27) and without (n = 58), referred for evaluation to a psychosis-risk specialty clinic. Using the positive symptom sub-scale of the Structured Interview for Psychosis-risk Syndromes (SIPS), participants were assessed with both a baseline evaluation and a six month follow-up for psychosis-spectrum symptoms. At baseline, only the group with PTSD’s hallucinatory experiences mean score was above the attenuated symptom threshold rating, and was also 27% higher than the mean rating of the group without PTSD. At follow-up, hallucinatory experiences in the PTSD group decreased significantly on the SIPS (t = 3.91, p <.001), while those without trauma remained low throughout the six month follow-up. This suggests that, while those with PTSD may be more prone to perceptual abnormalities, the passage of time is associated with an attenuation of these symptoms, a pattern not seen in the group without PTSD.

Topic Area: Ultra High Risk / Prodromal Research

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