A new study has investigated the link between “mini-strokes,” transient ischemic attacks (TIA’s) and the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Published in the journal Stroke, the study examined 108 patients who had suffered a TIA. The study involved questionnaires the patients completed three months after their TIA. The co-author of the study Kathrin Utz, Ph.D. defined a TIA as a “brief episode of stroke-like symptoms, such as sudden onset of numbness, weakness or paralysis, slurred speech, loss of language, sudden loss of memory, blurred vision, confusion, and severe headache.” An article added that TIA are cause by a restricted blood supply and typically occur for less than 5 minutes.
The study found that 1/3 of the patients developed symptoms of PTSD, including worry, nightmares, flashbacks, and social isolation. The study also noted that individuals who exhibit symptoms of PTSD were also more likely to demonstrate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Utz reported that younger patients and patients who generally found it difficult to cope with stress were more likely to present with PTSD and other mental health symptoms. Although Utz stated that the reason for the correlation between TIA’s and PTSD symptoms is currently unclear, she suggested that an emphasis should be placed on teaching TIA patients, particularly, younger TIA patients, coping skills for managing stress.
Pedersen, Traci. (2014, September). Mini-stroke may lead to PTSD. PsychCentral.
Brittany Best, BA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern