Information for PTSD ProfessionalsMost people will not connect their medical issues with a traumatic event.
As a primary care doctor, you are in a unique position to help a patient identify posttraumatic stress disorder as a potential root cause of their physical ailments.
Connecting Medical Issues with Traumatic Events
Most people will not connect their medical issues with a traumatic event. As a primary care doctor, you are in a unique position to help a patient identify posttraumatic stress disorder as a potential root cause of their physical ailments.
Additionally, it is important to coordinate medical health and mental health care providers as PTSD shows up with psychological and physiological symptoms. Many people seek treatment in the ER or with their primary care doctor for sexual abuse, rape, or physical abuse. These traumas have a high rate for PTSD risk, so it is extremely important to screen for PTSD during their treatment.
PTSD causes a host of physical symptoms that drive patients to seek care from their primary care doctor. Some of these include:
- Breathing issues such as asthma
- Painful or poor digestion
- Chronic, unexplained pain
- Muscle aches and pains
- Heart problems
- Chronic fatigue
- Severe headaches
- Panic attacks, racing heart, or chills
- Variety of eating disorders
- Fibromyalgia or other nerve pain
- Insomnia, sleep apnea, or other sleep disorders
What is the Role of a Health Care Professional to Treat PTSD?
Recovery for PTSD is highly dependent on early intervention. As a healthcare professional, you have a front line role to play in identifying patients at risk for PTSD.
Here are some ways that you can incorporate PTSD screening into your practice:
- Use the resources the PTSD Alliance provides to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of PTSD.
- When taking a routine health history, ask questions about previous trauma and look for symptoms of PTSD during the conversation.
- Be alert to the potential for PTSD in their history.
- Get to know local mental health providers and refer patients to them if they have symptoms of or are at risk for PTSD.
- Be a support and positive encouragement to both the patients and their families, understanding that PTSD causes significant stress to everyone involved.
PTSD Professionals on the Forefront of PTSD Care
As a healthcare professional, you interact with many individuals who may be at risk for posttraumatic stress disorder. The PTSD Alliance is here to serve you too with the most up-to-date and useful information available.
The PTSD professionals at the frontlines are:
- Primary care physicians (general practitioners and family doctors, OB/GYNs)
- Nurses and PA’s in clinics, private practice, ER/hospitals, or organizations for public health
- Psychologists, psychiatrists, or social workers private practice, public health agencies, or community hospitals and clinics.
- Support groups and advocacy groups for trauma survivors
- Counselors or therapists working in family service agencies, rape or crisis outreach, shelters for battered women, substance abuse programs.
- Other professionals such as: police, EMS, firefighters, clergy, and humanitarian/aid workers
The PTSD Alliance is here to give the best and most current research for PTSD professionals.