People who suffer a traumatic event that results in an orthopedic injury may be at an increased risk for post-traumatic stress symptoms. According to a recent article, anywhere from 20 to 51 percent of civilians with an orthopedic injury suffer from PTSD. Dr. Daniel Aaron, MD, a clinical instructor in the department of orthopedics at Brown University in Providence, R.I., said, “PTSD occurs with a significant frequency in civilian patients who have sustained an orthopedic trauma, and it can hinder their emotional, physical and functional recovery following orthopedic treatment.”
In most cases, the injury was a result of a fall from an extreme height, motorcycle or automobile accidents, gunshot wounds, or other extremely traumatic type events. “Generally, higher-energy mechanisms are most commonly associated with PTSD, but no specific type of fracture or injury has been identified,” Dr. Aaron said. The symptoms can interfere with a person’s daily activities and may even influence how they perceive the pain they are experiencing. “The development of PTSD adversely affects the ability of the patient to recover and may specifically compromise physical rehabilitation and patient satisfaction following orthopedic treatment,” Dr. Aaron said. “Without effective treatment, PTSD can hinder activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating, paying bills, shopping, laundry and other household chores. Patients with PTSD also may be delayed in returning to work.”
Dr. Aaron believes that it is important to identify those at risk for developing post-traumatic stress early in their orthopedic treatment in order to expedite their recovery. He states that a client must have an early intervention in order to gain the most from their therapy. The first step in helping someone who may be at risk of developing post-traumatic stress is to refer them to a mental health professional who may begin a treatment regimen. This will allow the client to address the psychological impact that the traumatic event has caused and begin the emotional and physical healing process.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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