Psychological Treatment: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder


The increased exposure to traumatic events has brought about clinical concerns that affect the health conditions of humans. An exposure to life-threatening situations or tragic events such as natural calamities, serious carnages, terror attacks, physical assaults, and sexual maltreatments may pose serious mental problems to survivors (Lovestrand, Phipps, & Lovestrand, 2013).

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The universal condition of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that emanates from the exposure to traumatic events continues to pose health concerns to the victims. Concerning such conditions, this essay explores the situational issues that cause PTSD, the clinical manifestations of PTSD, suggests the possible treatments and therapies, and develops a plan of PTSD care for nurses.

Situational Issues that Cause PSDT

Posttraumatic stress disorder is a mental health disorder that comes with an element of persistent emotional disturbance that occurs to victims or survivors of certain traumatic events, life-threatening encounters, and other forms of hostilities (Secor-Turner, 2005). PTSD is a form of an anxiety disease that emanate from several life situational issues.

PTSD comes from life threatening experiences such as an involvement in a military warfare where aggression is inescapable (Iribarren, Prolo, Neagos, & Chiappelli, 2005). Survivors and other war veterans often experience PTSD. Bisson and Andrew (2009) claim that human experiences of surviving or witnessing dangerous events such as accidents and natural catastrophes, are situational factors that predispose people to the PTSD condition.

Situations such as encounters with physical violence, domestic torture, sexual assault, mental illness, psychological harassment, and other forms of life-threatening events act as predisposing factors of PTSD (Lovestrand et al., 2013). People who rescue others in emergencies and those who witness the tormenting moments of their closest colleagues and family members are at risk of developing PTSD.

Generally, human exposures to traumatic or agonizing psychological events bring about the development of psychosomatic disturbances that expose the brain to depression (Secor-Turner, 2005). The situational risk factors of PTSD are diverse and they affect people of all ages and all socioeconomic classes as long as the victims have once encountered a life-threatening incidence.

Clinical Manifestations of PTSD

Victims of PTSD attack present several behavioral symptoms. The physical symptoms include chronic pains, persistent headaches, muscle cramps, chest stiffness, stomach pains and diarrhea, and the lower back pains. According to Secor-Turner (2005), the PTSD victims may demonstrate panic symptoms such as nausea, intense fear, dizziness, malaise, alertness, tension, nervousness, rapid heartbeats, and sweating.

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Victims of PTSD also present depression symptoms such as sadness, moodiness, guilt, shame, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, dreams, dissociative flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, destructive behaviors, irritable traits, and sleep disturbances (Secor-Turner, 2005). People with PTSD also express somatic complaints such as loss of appetite, memory lapses, nightmares, and some resort to alcohol dependence and uncontrolled drug abuse.

Treatment & Therapies

PTSD has medical, physical, and psychological remedies. Chemotherapies and drug treatments for the PTSD victims include the use of intravenous medications and oral medications such as the antidepressant drugs (Bisson & Andrew, 2009). Antidepressant drugs such as sertraline, paroxetine, and phenelzine may be remedial for the PTSD victims.

Psychotherapy interventions also assist in alleviating the pain and agony of the PTSD victims. Mental health professionals can support the victims by helping them to undertake therapy treatments such as the cognitive behavioral therapies, exposure therapies, family therapies, psychodynamic therapies and stress inoculation exercises (Secor-Turner, 2005). These therapies reduce psychological distresses and restore the cognitive capabilities of the victims.

A PTSD Plan of Care for Nurses

Effective diagnosis – Nurses should undertake critical analyses and effective differential diagnosis to assess all the relevant symptoms associated with the PTSD disorder before designing the interventions. A professional approach to the care of the PTSD patients entails a number of medical interventions that nurses should carry out (Iribarren et al., 2005).

Offering medical advice – When dealing with people diagnosed with PTSD, nurses must commit their efforts in offering medical advice to the affected patients. In the provision of healthcare services, nurses should help the patients make decisions about their treatments, nutrition, body hygiene, and spiritual demands (Iribarren et al., 2005). During the period of nursing care, nurses can also dress the wounds of the victims.

Needs assessment – In a continuous process, nurses should assist the patients to identify their health care needs, monitor their excitement levels, conduct regular interviews, make supportive suggestions, and help the patients to curb self-destructive thoughts.

Offering social support – PTSD patients often undergo depression, and nurses should extend their duty of care beyond medical assistance. Nurses should identify the requisite social support that the PTSD patients need, hep to reduce solitude in patients, and offer social support to the patients (Iribarren et al., 2005).

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Continuous medical care  More frequently, nurses should take the patients through the therapeutic interventions such as the cognitive therapies, psychological counseling, stress inoculation advices, and physical therapies such as the relaxation exercises to ease the frustrations.


A serious exposure to life tormenting events can result in the formation of the PTSD condition. The disorder occurs in people who have encountered military wars, natural calamities, carnages, assaults, physical threats, and hostage experiences. PTSD also affects those who have witnessed serious incidences.

This disorder has a variety of clinical manifestations that associate with anxiety problems. The symptoms range from normal anxiety disorders, depression problems, panic disorders, factitious disorders, medical problems, and dissociative disorders. In a plan of care for the PTSD patients after clinical diagnosis, nurses should practice quality care through chemotherapy, psychotherapy, and social remedies that ease the depressions of the PTSD patients.


Bisson J., & Andrew, M. (2009). Psychological treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Cochrane Library, 1(2), 1-98.

Iribarren, J., Prolo, P., Neagos, N., & Chiappelli, F. (2005). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Evidence-Based Research for the Third Millennium. eCAM, 2(4), 503-512.

Lovestrand, D., Phipps, S., & Lovestrand, S. (2013). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Anesthesia Emergence. AANA Journal, 81(3), 199-203.

Secor-Turner, M. (2005). Nurses and emergency disasters: What is known. American Journal of Infection Control, 34(7), 414-420.

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