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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Prisoners  

Author:  Terry A.  Kupers, M.D., M.S.P..

Source: Volume 09, Number 02, January/February 2008 , pp.17-25(9)

Correctional Health Care Report

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Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of a two part article. Prisoners are in double jeopardy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). On average, their preincarceration backgrounds include much more trauma than the average person experiences, and then when they go to prison new traumas await them, possibly including beatings, sexual assault, and/or time spent in segregation. Harsh prison conditions and new traumas that occur behind bars are more diffi cult to cope with because of the past history of multiple traumas. Although the prison reality presents this very real danger of “retraumatization,” it also presents staff an opportunity to identify traumatized prisoners and intervene to help them avoid or process potentially traumatic current events in a better way than earlier traumas were processed, resulting in a previously unattainable level of healing.

Keywords: flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, hypervigilance, depression, panic, complex PTSD, prevalence rates, ASPD

Affiliations:  1: The Wright Institute.

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