Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the Workplace

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The continuing threat of terrorism in America can be a significant factor in causing employees to experience post traumatic stress disorder. This is particularly true for those employees and their families who have been called upon to serve in the war in Iraq and who are now returning from combat. Traumatic experiences related to terrorism and our country at war can cause employees to experience unusually strong emotional reactions that interfere with their ability to function effectively in the workplace. Sometimes the stress reactions appear immediately. In some individuals, weeks or months may pass before the stress reactions appear. 

Some symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder displayed by employees are:

  • Remarks about reliving the experience(s) through vivid memories or flash backs.
  • Complains about having difficulty sleeping, sleeping too much or having nightmares.
  • Expressions of anxiety, depression and uncertainty about the future.
  • Relying increasingly on the use of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Expressing guilt about surviving or about not being able to prevent the disaster(s).
  • Hypersensitivity, irritability, outbursts of anger or panic attacks.
  • Bullying, harassment of co-workers, engaging in assault or causing accidents.
  • Withdrawal from workplace relationships and diminished interest in work activities.
  • Moodiness, suspiciousness, appearing frightened or unable to concentrate.
  • Impaired memory, thought confusion, poor attention span and difficulty making decisions.

We all respond to traumatic experiences in our own unique way. Everyone will move at his or her own pace through the stages of crisis and resolution. For some employees and their families, there may be ongoing problems. If you see symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder in your employees, talk to them about their concerns and remain respectful toward them. These traumatic events are sometimes so painful or difficult to manage that professional assistance from a counselor may be necessary. If we can be of assistance to you or your employees, please do not hesitate to contact us.