An Exploratory Examination of Risk-Taking Behavior and
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A complex psychiatric syndrome that develops in response to trauma exposure. Individuals with PTSD experience intrusive recollections or reexperiencing of the traumatic event, avoidance of trauma reminders, emotional numbing, and hyperarousal. In addition, PTSD is associated with high rates of concomitant physical and mental health problems, increased health care use, and impairment in social and occupational functioning. Almost 7% of the general population and up to 30% of veterans meet lifetime criteria for PTSD. Indeed, PTSD is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, representing a significant and costly public health concern.
Symptom Severity in a Veteran Sample

Military Medicine - 2012-04-01Strom TQ, Leskela J, James L, Thuras PD, Voller E, Weigel R, Yutsis M, Khaylis A, Lindbery J, Holz KB10.7205/MILMED-D-11-00133
The present study conducted an exploratory examination of the relationship between self-reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and an expanded definition of risk-taking behaviors among 395 veterans at a large Midwestern Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms were associated with elevated rates of substance use, thrill seeking, aggression, risky sexual practices, and firearm possession. Results indicated that suicidal ideation and aggressive driving behavior were among the most frequently reported. The present findings hold significant public health implications and highlight the need to attend to risk-taking behaviors in treatment planning.