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New NICE guideline update on Post-traumatic stress disorder: management published

We are pleased to announce the publication of the NICE guideline update on Post-traumatic stress disorder (NG116) developed by the National Guideline Alliance (NGA).

The NICE guideline on the recognition, assessment and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children, young people and adults has now been updated. It aims to improve quality of life by reducing symptoms of PTSD and associated symptoms, such as anxiety and sleep problems. Recommendations also aim to raise awareness of the condition and improve coordination of care.  

PTSD develops following a stressful event or situation of an exceptionally threatening or catastrophic nature. It is a disorder that can affect people of any age. Around 25–30% of people experiencing a traumatic event go on to develop PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD often develop immediately after the traumatic event but in some people (fewer than 15%) onset is delayed. People may not present for treatment for months or years despite experiencing considerable distress. PTSD is a treatable disorder, even for people who present many years later, but assessment can be challenging because many people avoid talking about their problems even when presenting with associated complaints.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (update) [NG116]

Read the new guideline on the NICE website

It is common for people with PTSD to have other problems such as depression. When people have had repeated or multiple traumas, or have other significant mental health problems, their presentation of PTSD may be complex and adjustments may be required to the way in which treatment is delivered.

Effective treatment of PTSD can only take place if the disorder is recognised. Opportunities for recognition usually arise during routine healthcare, for example during physical treatment after an assault or an accident, or when a person discloses domestic violence or a history of childhood sexual abuse. Many people attending for medical services in hospital have experienced traumatic events, particularly in emergency departments, and orthopaedic and plastic surgery clinics. Up to 30% of children who attend an emergency department for a traumatic injury go on to develop PTSD. Identifying PTSD in children presents particular problems, but is improved by asking children directly about their experiences.

This guideline updates NICE’s 2005 guidance on PTSD. It covers children, young people and adults (aged 18 years and over) who are at risk of PTSD or have a diagnosis of PTSD, and their families and carers. It also covers people with comorbid conditions including drug and alcohol misuse and common mental health conditions.

The guideline covers all NHS and social care-commissioned services where care is provided for people with PTSD.

"Post-traumatic stress disorder (update)" [NG116] is available on the NICE website from 5th December 2018.


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