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Mental Health Information Centre - Southern Africa

PTSD

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder


With high levels of past political and current criminal and domestic violence in South Africa, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a particularly important anxiety disorder, deserving special attention. The Bathuthuzele Clinic focuses on investigating the impact of trauma on adolescents and the appropriate management of posttraumatic stress disorder in this population. The Unit is also conducting ongoing research on various psychiatric medications for the prevention and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder in adults. The PTSD project focuses in particular on questions about the phenomenology, psychobiology, treatment, and community health implications of posttraumatic stress disorder in the South African context.

Studies

More information

Bathuthuzele Youth Stress Clinic
This is a specialized clinic that provides a free service to youth between the ages of 8 and 18 who have been affected by extreme violence and trauma. Services include screening and assessment, medication and psychotherapy referrals. The clinic also does research into trauma, PTSD and other trauma related issues.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Children/adolescents between 8 and 17 years old with a diagnosis of PTSD
  • Duration of illness at least 3 months
  • Children/adolescents must assent, & parent must give consent to any study procedures

A Prospective Follow-Up Study of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Mortuary Workers and Emergency Care Practitioners
This study aims to assess the frequency, nature and severity of posttraumatic stress symptoms and other psychopathology resulting from work-related stressors (i.e. exposure to dead bodies and emergency medical situations) in a sample of mortuary workers and Emergency Care students, over a period of one year, beginning from pre-employment (pre-exposure). It aims to determine what socio-demographic and clinical factors predict the development of new PTSD one year following exposure and will investigate risk factors and resilience factors that might contribute to the presence and severity of posttraumatic symptomatology.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Male and female police mortuary workers, who expect to remain in their respective category of employment or job description, for the duration of the twelve months.
  • Male and female emergency care students enrolled at Cape Penninsula University of Technology.

Exclusion Criteria

  • Mortuary workers who are employed on a part-time basis, or who do not expect to be available for assessment for the duration of the study period.

Adult Rape Prophylaxis
The Adult Rape Prophylaxis Study aims to determine whether early pharmacological intervention is effective in the preventative treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in adult rape survivors.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Female victims of forced and unwanted vaginal or anal penetration within the previous 24 hours.
  • 18 to 65 years of age.
  • Able to comprehend or speak English at Grade 8 level.
  • Must have an accessible telephone or telephone contact during the follow-up period.

Exclusion Criteria

  • Pregnancy. To be eligible all subjects will need to have a negative serum pregnancy test.
  • Acute intoxication with alcohol or drugs which makes obtaining informed consent within the 24-hour post-rape time window impossible.
  • Any co-existing medical condition that does not permit administration of the study drugs.
  • Head injury with loss of consciousness.
  • History of psychotic disorder (e.g. schizophrenia), bipolar disorder, dementia, or mental retardation.

Adolescent Rape Study
The Adolescent Rape study aims to determine whether very early repeated clinical assessment is effective in reducing trauma–specific symptoms over a 1 year follow-up period in adolescents recently exposed to rape.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Female victims of forced and unwanted vaginal or anal penetration within the previous 2 weeks.
  • 14 to 18 years of age.
  • Able to comprehend or speak English at Grade 8 level.
  • Must have an accessible telephone or telephone contact during the follow-up period.

Exclusion Criteria

  • Pregnancy. To be eligible all subjects will need to have a negative serum pregnancy test.
  • Acute intoxication with alcohol or drugs which makes obtaining informed consent within the 24-hour post-rape time window impossible.
  • Any co-existing medical condition that does not permit administration of the study drugs.
  • Head injury with loss of consciousness.
  • History of psychotic disorder (e.g. schizophrenia), bipolar disorder, dementia, or mental retardation.


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In partnership with:


University of Stellenbosch
South African Medical Research Council
University of Cape Town