Whiplash associated disorders: Is there a place for psychiatrists and psychologists?

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    Between 25 and 30% of the victims of a whiplash injury have complaints after or re year. This condition is referred to as late whiplash syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by pain of the neck, headache,forgetfulness, poor concentration, mental fatigue, and affective symptoms. The causes of the persistent symptoms are unknown. In all, the evidence that late-whiplash syndrome is a neurological disorder is flimsy. Current opinion holds that the acute basis is the painful injury of the neck. In the months following the accident, pain is the substrate on which psychological and social factors may act. Emotional symptoms such as lability of affect and disturbed mood, or posttraumatic stress disorders are common after whiplash. Although there is definitely a place for psychiatrists and psychologists in the treatment of late whiplash syndrome, these professionals are not involved in late whiplash disorder as much as they should be. Brief psychological treatment has proven to significantly reduce the severity and duration of symptoms. Optimal management must cover the treatment of pain, depression, anxiety, and fatigue; adequate psycho-education, stressing the good long-term outcome; and education of patients and relatives on possible cognitive symptoms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)134-136
    Number of pages3
    JournalActa Neuropsychiatrica
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999

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