Nursing on the Frontlines of PTSD Treatment

Now more than ever, nurses are consistently exposed to the impact of mental illness in all aspects of patient care.By Kylie Smith, PhD

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a complex mental health disorder that affects up to 7% of the population, and as much as 17% of returned service personnel from combat zones. The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines PTSD broadly as a cluster of four distinct symptoms: re-experiencing, negative alterations in cognition and mood, avoidance, and hyperarousal. The DSM also notes that PTSD may or may not be co-morbid with other mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse or suicide.

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