Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a severe cognitive health condition that can have long-lasting effects on an individual’s life. PTSD can cause intense feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression that make it difficult to cope with everyday life. This can also lead to physical signs such as chest pain, headaches, and fatigue. Fortunately, there are treatments available for those who have PTSD.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective forms of treatment for PTSD and has been proven to reduce symptoms significantly over time. In this post, we will share a healthy PTSD nursing care plan for those who have PTSD. The plan is designed to help patients manage their symptoms and gain greater control over their lives.
Table of Contents
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that develops after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It affects the individual’s ability to cope with and respond to situations with a threat of danger or harm.
Who gets PTSD?
Anyone can develop PTSD at any age, regardless of the traumatic event they experienced or witnessed. Women are more likely to be affected by PTSD than men, and some biological factors (like genetics) may make someone more prone to it.
According to the National Center for PTSD, a program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 6 out of every 100 people will experience PTSD at some point.
This includes combat veterans and individuals who have gone through physical or sexual assault, abuse, an accident, disaster, or other serious events – even just learning about a friend or family member’s trauma could cause PTSD.
The underlying cause of PTSD is unknown. It is often associated with the experience of a traumatic event that triggers a series of psychological and physical reactions in the body, such as an overactive stress response system, alterations in brain chemistry, and changes in how the brain processes information.
Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, and hyperarousal (feeling jumpy and easily startled). Other symptoms may consist of:
- avoidance behaviors (e.g., avoiding places or activities associated with the trauma),
- numbness or detachment from others
- emotional outbursts
- feeling “on edge” all the time
- Feelings of guilt or shame about what happened during the traumatic event, i
- irritability or aggression,
- Difficulty forming relationships.
Various traumatic events, such as natural disasters, physical violence, sexual assault, or military combat, can cause PTSD. It is important to note that the event does not need to be life-threatening for a person to develop PTSD; any trauma experienced can lead to the disorder.
Certain factors may increase an individual’s risk of developing PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event, including having prior mental health issues (such as depression or anxiety), substance use disorders, childhood trauma or abuse, and social isolation.
Left untreated, PTSD can worsen over time and cause severe complications in other areas of an individual’s life, such as work or relationships.
PTSD is also linked to an increased risk of developing physical conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Treatment for PTSD typically involves a combination of medications and psychotherapy. Medications may include antidepressants and antipsychotics to help manage symptoms, while cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals better understand their reactions and learn coping strategies for managing their condition.
In addition, group therapy can provide support from peers who are experiencing similar issues.
PTSD Nursing Care Plan
The patient has symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including:
- difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- hyperarousal (feeling jumpy and easily startled)
- avoidance behaviors
- emotional outbursts
- feelings of guilt or shame about the traumatic event.
Nursing Diagnosis PSTD
Nursing diagnoses for PTSD may include:
- Altered coping mechanisms: Related to difficulty managing and responding to stress resulting from the traumatic event. Nurses should provide the patient with stress management techniques like relaxation exercises and positive self-talk.
- Risk for impaired social interactions: This is related to an individual’s inability to trust others and form relationships. Nurses should provide the patient with support and reassurance while encouraging them to engage in social activities.
- Risk for disrupted sleep pattern: This is related to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep due to nightmares and intrusive thoughts. Nurses should provide patients with strategies to help them relax before bedtime and monitor their sleep patterns.
Nursing Intervention For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Nursing interventions for PTSD may include:
- Providing a safe environment: Nurses should ensure the patient feels secure and free from further trauma. This can be done by creating an atmosphere of trust and providing emotional support.
- Encouraging healthy lifestyle habits: This includes promoting adequate sleep, daily exercise, and healthy eating habits to help reduce stress and improve overall wellness.
- Encouraging relaxation techniques: Relaxation exercises such as deep breathing, visualization or progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce anxiety and restlessness.
- Providing psychoeducation: Nurses should educate the patient about PTSD and provide information on coping strategies to manage symptoms.
- Referral for counseling/therapy: If needed, nurses should refer the patient to a mental health professional for further evaluation and treatment.
PTSD is a severe mental health condition that can have long-lasting effects on an individual’s life. While the causes are still not fully understood, it is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of PTSD and seek appropriate help and treatment. Nurses should assess for PTSD in all patients and provide suitable ptsd NCP to help manage symptoms and promote overall wellness.
Mrs. Marie Brown has been a registered nurse for over 25 years. She began her nursing career at a Level I Trauma Center in downtown Chicago, Illinois. There she worked in the Emergency Department and on the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. After several years, she moved to the Midwest and continued her nursing career in a critical care setting. For the last 10 years of her nursing career, Mrs. Brown worked as a flight nurse with an air ambulance service. During this time, she cared for patients throughout the United States.