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Ohio Medical Center Addresses Psychological Trauma

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

As the prevalence of stress and stress-related conditions increases and associated treatment costs escalate into the billions of dollars, the newly-created psychological trauma program at Ohio State University Medical Center serves as a resource for local community providers to address the needs of those suffering from untreated emotional trauma.

“The current economy is another factor influencing potential traumatic situations each of us could face,” says Dr. Radu Saveanu, chair of the department of psychiatry and executive director of OSU Harding Hospital. “Very few programs exist in the Midwest, yet we see psychological trauma in central Ohio every day. Through collaboration with community partners, we want to improve the quality of life for affected individuals.”

OSU Medical Center plans to offer additional, trauma-specific staff training in the emergency department and surgical intensive care unit, work with patients and families in these areas and conduct workshops for staff and community-based service providers.

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In developing its program, Ohio State Medical Center surveyed numerous professionals in healthcare, government and social services to assess community need. A key finding was that more emphasis should be placed on providing support and resources to caregivers who deal with traumatic situations each day.

“In addition to providing support and resources, another key aspect will be the research conducted on the causes, biological and behavioral markers, prevention and treatment approaches for psychological trauma,” adds Jessica Auslander, program coordinator, who recently joined OSU Medical Center to further develop the program.

Psychological trauma most commonly happens in response to a major catastrophic event, such as war, earthquake, hurricanes or violent crimes. It can also occur after more common events like car accidents, serious illness, employment loss or repeated stress at home or work.

The financial burden of undiagnosed and untreated trauma, such as alcohol and drug abuse, child abuse and violence, is staggering. The Lewin Group estimates the costs of untreated trauma-related alcohol and drug abuse at $161 billion in 2000. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lost productivity from violence accounted for $64.6 billion annually, with another $5.6 billion in medical care.