It is estimated that more almost 7% of the U.S. population will experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in their lifetime (National Institute of Mental Health, 2017). This debilitating disorder often interferes with an individual’s ability to function in daily life. Common symptoms of anxiousness and depression frequently lead to behavioral issues, adolescent substance abuse issues, and even physical ailments. For this Assignment, you examine a PTSD video case study and consider how you might assess and treat clients presenting with PTSD.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological disorder that can occur in individuals who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD can include intrusive memories, nightmares, avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event, negative mood and thoughts, and hyperarousal (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). It is a chronic condition that can lead to significant impairment in daily functioning and quality of life.

In the United States, the prevalence of PTSD is estimated to be around 7% of the general population (National Institute of Mental Health, 2017). However, specific populations, such as veterans and survivors of interpersonal violence, may have higher rates of PTSD. The impact of PTSD can be far-reaching, affecting not only the individual with the disorder but also their families and communities.

One video case study that provides insight into the assessment and treatment of PTSD is the “Aftermath” video by the Center for Deployment Psychology (2016). In this case study, a combat veteran named John presents with symptoms of PTSD. He describes experiencing intrusive memories, nightmares, and difficulty sleeping. He also shares his struggles with hypervigilance and anger, which have affected his relationships and job performance.

In assessing clients presenting with PTSD, it is important to conduct a thorough evaluation to determine the severity of symptoms and any comorbid conditions. The assessment should include a detailed history of the traumatic event, as well as an evaluation of the client’s current symptoms and functioning. Clinicians may use validated self-report measures, such as the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5), to assess symptom severity.

Once a diagnosis of PTSD has been made, the treatment of choice is trauma-focused psychotherapy, often in conjunction with medication management. Trauma-focused psychotherapies, such as prolonged exposure therapy or cognitive processing therapy, aim to reduce symptoms by helping clients process and confront memories of the traumatic event. These therapies typically involve gradual exposure to the traumatic memories, with the goal of reducing avoidance and increasing adaptive coping strategies.

In the case of John, his therapist uses cognitive processing therapy to help him challenge negative beliefs about himself and the world. The therapist guides John through a process of evaluating evidence for and against his beliefs, which helps him gain a more balanced perspective. This cognitive restructuring helps to alleviate John’s symptoms and improve his overall functioning.

In addition to trauma-focused psychotherapy, medication may be used in the treatment of PTSD, particularly for individuals with severe symptoms or comorbid conditions. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as sertraline or paroxetine, are commonly used as first-line medications for PTSD. These medications can help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and hyperarousal.

It is important for clinicians to approach the treatment of PTSD with sensitivity and cultural awareness, as the experience and expression of trauma can vary across different populations. Some individuals may be hesitant to seek treatment due to cultural or personal beliefs about mental health. It is crucial to create a safe and supportive therapeutic environment in which clients feel comfortable discussing their experiences and emotions.

In conclusion, PTSD is a debilitating disorder that can have profound impacts on individuals’ lives. Assessing and treating clients presenting with PTSD requires a comprehensive evaluation of their symptoms and functioning. Trauma-focused psychotherapy, combined with medication management when necessary, is the recommended approach in the treatment of PTSD. Clinicians should approach the treatment process with cultural sensitivity and a focus on creating a safe and supportive therapeutic environment.

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