Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an emotional illness that that is classified as an anxiety disorder and usually develops as a result of a terribly frightening, life-threatening, or otherwise highly unsafe experience. PTSD sufferers re-experience the traumatic event or events in some way, tend to avoid places, people, or other things that remind them of the event (avoidance), and are exquisitely sensitive to normal life experiences (hyper arousal).


There are three groups of symptoms for post traumatic stress disorder:

  • Recurrent re-experiencing of the trauma (for example, troublesome memories, flashbacks that are usually caused by reminders of the traumatic events, recurring nightmares about the trauma and/or dissociative reliving of the trauma)
  • Avoidance to the point of having aphobia of places, people, and experiences that remind the sufferer of the trauma or a general numbing of emotional responsiveness
  • Chronic physical signs of hyper arousal, including sleep problems, trouble concentrating, irritability, anger, poor concentration, blackouts or difficulty remembering things, increased tendency and reaction to being startled, and hyper vigilance (excessive watchfulness) to threat


Early access to cognitive behavioral therapy, medications such as propranolol are some of the preventive measure to take with someone with post traumatic stress disorder. Critical incident stress management has also been proposed as a means of preventing PTSD.


Occupational therapy can perform exposure therapy to those that experience intrusive thoughts, cognitive therapy for those individuals who are irritable and demonstrates angry outburst.  Anxiety management training includes relaxation training, breathing retraining, positive thinking, self-talk, assertiveness training, and thought stopping.  Group therapy is another aspect of occupational therapy that involves the individual to talk to other people who had similar experiences.


WebMD, article source: Posttraumatic stress disorder, retreived from:, article Source: What are PTSD symptoms and signs, retrieved from:

Atchison, Ben J. & Dirette, Dianne K., 2007. Conditions in Occupational Therapy: Effect of Occupational Performance.

Kennealey, Moya., Morgan, Marlene J., Weiss, Donna., 2004. A Practitioner’s Guide to Clinical Occupational Therapy.