246327 Physical health status and sleep quality in veterans with PTSD

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cindie Slightam , VA Palo Alto Health Care System/Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Andrea Jamison, PhD , VA Palo Alto Health Care System/Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Franziska Bertram, Dipl-Psych , University of Bielefeld/VA Palo Alto Healthcare System, Palo Alto, CA
Walton Roth, MD , VA Palo Alto Health Care System/Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has a wide range of effects on physical and mental health. PTSD puts patients at higher risk for poor physical health. It often results in greater medical utilization, poor self-reported health, high rates of chronic illness, negative health behaviors, and higher rates of morbidity and mortality. In trauma-exposed male veterans with and without chronic PTSD (n=35) at a Veterans Affairs medical center, poor self-rated physical and mental health was significantly correlated with clinician-assessed PTSD diagnosis (r=-.389; -.471 p<0.01), as well as with self-reported PTSD symptom severity (r=-.544; -.642, p<0.01). Sleep disturbance is a commonly reported symptom in PTSD, and poor self-reported sleep quality was significantly related to self-reports of poor physical health (r=-.522, p<0.01). Poor sleep quality was also correlated with increased psychological tension, self-reported PTSD symptom severity, and fatigue and anergia (r=.539; .569; .581, p<0.01).Actigraphy is an objective measure of sleep. Preliminary actigraphic results of 30 veterans with PTSD and 14 no-PTSD controls indicated that veterans with PTSD had significantly longer sleep onset latency, less total sleep time, poorer sleep efficiency, and more wake after sleep onset. Understanding the interrelationships between PTSD, sleep, and overall quality of life should be a focus for both physical and behavioral health clinicians, since poor sleep may exacerbate mental and physical symptoms. Interventions that target sleep disturbances, such as sleep hygiene education, may be an important preventative measure to reduce symptoms of mental distress and to improve overall health and wellness.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1) To demonstrate the relationship between PTSD, poor sleep, and physical health 2) To identify sleep hygiene as an important component of treatment in PTSD 3) To compare self-report sleep measures with actigraphy measurements in the assessment of overall sleep in veterans with PTSD.

Keywords: Mental Health, Veterans' Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a candidate for my Masters in Public Health at San Jose State University. My interests include the effects of mental health on physical ailments and overall quality of life. I will continue mental health research in my public health career. I have no conflicts of interests.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.