Main Article Content
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an emotional disorder which occurs as a result of a life threatening experience. Individuals with PTSD are more likely to develop medical conditions related to stress and research has shown that they may have altered neuro endocrine and immune system abnormalities.2 Diagnosis of PTSD has been interview based, with instruments prepared from developed countries. Apart from cultural differences which may affect the results, the problem of subject recall may also affect the reliability of such instruments. Readily available laboratory tests are known to be useful in understanding and managing diseases. Peripheral blood smears are readily available and have been useful in the diagnosis and management of many disease conditions. Given the above, the hypothesis that PTSD patients may have some alterations in some haematological parameters different from healthy individuals without PTSD which may aid in the diagnosis of PTSD was tested. PTSD patients and healthy controls were recruited from Nassarawa Gwom community. Participants were witnesses or victims of the ethno-religious conflict which has become endemic in the area since 2001. Each participant signed informed consent before being enrolled in the study. Blood samples were collected from their forearm veins at about 9a.m. on the day of the test. The means of the values obtained for some haematological parameters were then compared. 61 people were recruited for the study. 30 people met the inclusion criteria; only 26 finally completed the experiment. The results obtained did not show any significant differences in the haematological parameters studied except for the monocyte count. The lymphocyte and monocyte counts were elevated and the CD4 and neutrophil counts were reduced in the PTSD group. The basophil and eosinophil counts were unaffected. The haemoglobin concentration (Hb) and the packed cell volume (PCV) were higher in the PTSD patients. It was concluded that though there were no haematological changes among the parameters studied, that could be said to be pathognomonic for the diagnosis of PTSD; the changes observed could however be clinically important as they point to possible immunological suppression in the PTSD patients.