Diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic
AuthorCooper, J; Phelps, AJ; Ng, CH; Forbes, D
Source TitleAustralian Journal of General Practice
PublisherROYAL AUSTRALIAN COLLEGE GENERAL PRACTITIONERS
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsCooper, J., Phelps, A. J., Ng, C. H. & Forbes, D. (2020). Diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic. AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF GENERAL PRACTICE, 49 (12), pp.785-789. https://doi.org/10.31128/ajgp-07-20-5557.
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BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented stress globally, and the associated medical and health-related traumatic experiences pose significant risks for the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the exacerbation of pre-existing PTSD, among patients, general practitioners (GPs) and healthcare staff. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this article is to provide guidance to GPs and healthcare staff working in Australia about the diagnosis and treatment of both newly developed and pre-existing PTSD in the COVID-19 context. Case studies are presented; the authors discuss whether pandemic-related PTSD is different to PTSD caused by different types of traumatic exposure, and the associated implications for treatment. DISCUSSION: The role of GPs in the management of PTSD during the COVID-19 pandemic remains central, involving early detection, assessment and referral. Moreover, health professionals are not immune to the mental health effects of the pandemic and are encouraged to maintain their wellbeing and to seek professional treatment if needed.
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