Post-traumatic stress disorder in a group of Australian general practices.
Some authorities regard post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a well characterised condition that is under diagnosed in general practice. We aimed to explore its prevalence in Australian general practice. METHOD: 'Medic-GP' contains the records of 58,941 patients over a period of six years. We searched the database for PTSD and synonyms in individual records, looking for diagnostic criteria and comorbidities. RESULTS: Post-traumatic stress disorder was diagnosed in 337 patients, an annual incidence of 88/100,000 patients over a 6.5 year period. Specialists diagnosed 312 (93%) after referral by general practitioners. The GPs diagnosed 25 (7%) themselves, of whom only five patients (20%) had all seven diagnostic criteria recorded, and only 16% were free of comorbidities. DISCUSSION: General practitioners diagnosed PTSD infrequently, and at levels lower than that seen in the community. The usual psychiatric criteria were seldom recorded. Comorbid conditions were common.