Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Paper

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Paper

It is estimated that more than 6% of the U.S. population will experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in their lifetime (National Center for PTSD, 2010). This debilitating disorder often interferes with an individual’s ability to function in daily life. Common symptoms of anxiousness and depression frequently lead to substance abuse issues and even physical ailments. For this Discussion, as you examine the Thompson Family Case Study in this week’s Learning Resources, consider how you might assess and treat clients presenting with PTSD Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Paper.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Assess clients presenting with posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Analyze therapeutic approaches for treating clients presenting with posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Evaluate outcomes for clients with posttraumatic stress disorder


To prepare:

  • Review this week’s Learning Resources and reflect on the insights they provide.
  • View the media Academic Year in Residence: Thompson Family Case Study, and assess the client in the case study.
  • For guidance on assessing the client, refer to pages 137–142 of the Wheeler text in this week’s Learning Resources.

Note: To complete this Discussion, you must assess the client, but you are not required to submit a formal Comprehensive Client Assessment.


Post  an explanation of your observations of the client William in Thompson Family Case Study, including behaviors that align to the PTSD criteria in DSM-5.

Then, explain therapeutic approaches you might use with this client, including psychotropic medications if appropriate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Paper.

Finally, explain expected outcomes for the client based on these therapeutic approaches. Support your approach with evidence-based literature.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an ailment that affects people who experience horrifying and scary ordeals in their lives. It is natural for human beings to be afraid after occurrence of harrowing situations. In the process, the body triggers a fight or flight response in the quest to defend itself from harm. However, some individuals continue experiencing this reflex reaction long after the occurrence of the petrifying event. Particularly, Arnsten, Raskind, Taylor and Connor (2015) state that PTSD is a result of psychological stress, based on previous incidences. In fact, researchers face difficulties distinguishing PTSD from traumatic brain injury (TBI), since the latter entails identifiable injury to the brain. The distinction arises from the antiquated polarity between mind and brain. PTSD entails disturbances of the mind. Despite this aspect, PTSD destabilizes a victim’s normal being, leading to deterioration of health (Calhoun & Tedeschi, 2014). PTSD is caused by an array of factors.  Based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criterion, a physician can ascertain the main cause of PTSD, and recommend relevant pharmacological and therapeutic interventions, to warrant excellent health.

Client Observation (William Thompson)

William Thompson is a 38-year-old man who served in the army as a captain. He lived in New Jersey and is a lawyer specializing in financial law. However, he is homeless and his job is in jeopardy due to excessive alcohol consumption. Based on these facts, it is apparent that William Thompson is suffering from a psychological disorder. However, it is imperative for a practitioner to precisely ascertain the exact ailment, to ensure precise administration of relevant therapeutic approaches and correct medicine. Particularly, one can use the DSM-5 criteria to assess the client. In this case, the DSM-5 criterion confirms that William suffers from PTSD. According to Rehbein, Kliem, Baier, Mößle, and Petry (2015), Criterion A states that one can suffer PTSD through exposure to death, threats, or witnessing trauma. These aspects apply to William’s case since he participated in the war.

Psychotropic and Therapeutic Approaches

The main treatment intervention for PTSD is medication.  However, researchers posit that incorporation of psychotherapeutic approaches play a significant role in the stabilization of a patient. However, it is necessary to identify the precise level of PTSD in a patient before prescribing medication. Similarly, Baldwin et al. (2014) elaborate that psychiatrists ought to categorize the most relevant therapeutic approach to administer on a patient, since individuals possess different personalities. In the case of William, it is evident that he suffers from trauma. Such conditions lead to depression and lack of sleep. According to Baldwin et al. (2014), a physician can prescribe relevant Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) approved drugs for better results. Particularly, one can administer sertraline to stabilize William’s situation. Additionally, William ought to be incorporated to a relevant cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) group. In fact, Hoge, Riviere, Wilk, Herrell and Weathers (2014) posit that these groups are most efficient amongst veterans, as they reminisce on their times during the war. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been demonstrated to effectively stabilize a range of conditions especially depression and PSTD (Wheeler, 2014). Particularly, psychiatrists would expose William to trauma narratives similar to those in a war field, although in a controlled manner. Based on this approach, they would encourage the patient by incorporating skills which would minimize avoidance and maladaptive associations with the trauma. In the long run, William would exercise self-control when faced with similar thoughts.

Expected Outcomes

The administration of sertraline in 25mg/day for one month would help soothe the patient. Sertraline’s half-life elimination is about 26 to 30 hours, an aspect that allows patients to ingest it daily. Particularly, the drug reduces traumas experienced during the night, leading to adequate sleep. Sertraline inhibits central serotonin reuptake. In the process, it enhances precise transmission of serotoninergic. Since it has minimal anticholinergic activity, the drug would help stabilize William effectively Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Paper.


Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious condition that affects many individuals all over the world. In fact, most of the victims end up committing suicide if appropriate care is not administered. For instance, William Thompson is a war veteran working as a financial lawyer. However, his job is in limbo due to alcoholism and PTSD. To stabilize his condition, practitioners ought to administer 25mg of sertraline each day for one month and register him to a CBT group. In the long run, his condition would subside.


Arnsten, A. F., Raskind, M. A., Taylor, F. B., & Connor, D. F. (2015). The effects of stress exposure on prefrontal cortex: Translating basic research into successful treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder. Neurobiology of stress, 1, 89-99.

Baldwin, D. S., Anderson, I. M., Nutt, D. J., Allgulander, C., Bandelow, B., den Boer, J. A., … & Malizia, A. (2014). Evidence-based pharmacological treatment of anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder: a revision of the 2005 guidelines from the British Association for Psychopharmacology. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 28(5), 403-439.

Calhoun, L. G., & Tedeschi, R. G. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of posttraumatic growth: Research and practice. Routledge.

Hoge, C. W., Riviere, L. A., Wilk, J. E., Herrell, R. K., & Weathers, F. W. (2014). The prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in US combat soldiers: a head-to-head comparison of DSM-5 versus DSM-IV-TR symptom criteria with the PTSD checklist. The Lancet Psychiatry, 1(4), 269-277.

Rehbein, F., Kliem, S., Baier, D., Mößle, T., & Petry, N. M. (2015). Prevalence of Internet gaming disorder in German adolescents: Diagnostic contribution of the nine DSM‐5 criteria in a state‐wide representative sample. Addiction, 110(5), 842-851.

Wheeler, K. (Ed.). (2014). Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: A how-to guide for evidence-based practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Paper.






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