Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has aroused considerable interest since its first appearance in DSM-III (American Psychiatric Association, 1980) and increasing prevalence rates have been detected not only in selected samples of trauma exposed subjects but also in the general population.
There is agreement concerning the differential vulnerability to PTSD related to gender, with women being the most affected, to level of exposure, to the type of trauma and to age, but it is still debated which could be the basic etiopathogenetic mechanism leading to the impairment of the adaptive response.Some new perspectives may derive from most recent research on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Increasing data, despite still scant, suggest that ASD subjects may be often exposed to traumatic experiences and, thus, they may be likely to develop PTSD. PTSD symptoms can arise from multiple traumas according to the Complex PTSD model, that is to say prolonged and/or repeated trauma, such as bullying episodes or repeated sexual abuse.
Complex PTSD symptomatology is often chronic and more severe than typical PTSD symptoms, including deficits in emotional regulation, negative self-perception, interpersonal problems and dissociative symptoms. A possible role of rumination has also been speculated, suggesting that ruminative thoughts arising from interpersonal difficulties, conflicts and traumas may represent a transnosographic dimension encompassing major depression and PTSD towards ASD, and triggering suicidal behaviors. In light of these most recent evidences, we argue that future research should carefully explore the relationships between ASD symptoms and post-traumatic stress disorders spectrum.
This would not only lead to better understanding of the etiopatogenetic mechanisms underlying such disorders within the framework of a neurodevelopmental perspective, but also will help to overcome the limitations of current nosographic system that, lacking in comprehensive etiopathological models, often leads to an artificial enhancement of comorbidity.
Citation: Dell'Osso, Luche (2015) A New Perspective in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Which Role for Unrecognized Autism Spectrum? International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience, 17(2), 436-438.
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