Patient journey of civilian adults diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder—A chart review study

Current Medical Research and Opinion, 2024


To assess the journey of individuals from experiencing a traumatic event through onset of symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Patient- and psychiatrist-level data was collected (02/2022-05/2022) from psychiatrists who treated ≥1 civilian adult diagnosed with PTSD. Eligible charts covered civilian adults diagnosed with PTSD (2016-2020), receiving ≥1 PTSD-related treatment (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs], serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors [SNRIs], atypical antipsychotics [AAs]), and having ≥1 medical visit in the last 12 months. Collected information included clinical and treatment characteristics surrounding the PTSD diagnosis.


A total of 273 psychiatrists contributed data on 687 patients with PTSD (average age 36.1; 60.4% female). On average, the traumatic event and symptom onset occurred 8.7 years and 6.5 years prior to PTSD diagnosis, respectively. In the 6 months before diagnosis, 88.9% of patients had received a PTSD-related treatment. At time of diagnosis, 87.8% of patients had intrusion symptoms and 78.9% had alterations in cognition/mood; 41.2% had depressive disorder and 38.7% had anxiety. Diagnosis prompted treatment changes for 79.3% of patients, receiving treatment within 1.9 months on average, often with a first-line SSRI as either monotherapy (52.8%) or combination (24.9%). At the end of the 24-month study period, 34.4% of patients achieved psychiatrist-recorded remission. A total of 23.0% of psychiatrists expressed dissatisfaction with approved PTSD treatments, with 88.3% at least somewhat likely to prescribe AAs despite lack of FDA approval.


PTSD presents heterogeneously, with an extensive journey from trauma to diagnosis with low remission rates and limited treatment options.

View abstract


Davis LL, Urganus A, Gagnon-Sanschagrin P, Maitland J, Bedard J, Bellefleur R, Cloutier M, Guérin A, Aggarwal J