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Understanding Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Individuals can develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in response to an emotionally painful event or physical injury such as an assault or accident. Roughly half of all U.S. adults will experience at least one traumatic event in their lives according to The National Institute of Mental Health. While most people experience stress and anxiety after traumatic incidents, a small percentage will have stress that disrupts the person’s ability to function and will develop PTSD.

Workplace trauma is serious business

In the workplace, the repercussions of a traumatic event are even more dramatic for the employee. Consider an injured worker’s emotional reaction to a physical attack, or the horror of witnessing a coworker’s sudden death or gruesome workplace accident. These feelings are not easily dismissed, are likely to linger and can seriously affect the person’s emotional and physical well-being.

Traumatized workers experience enormous physical and mental health challenges, and they are more likely to become depressed and turn to substance abuse for relief. Haunting memories from the trauma can surface at any time and cause disruption in the workplace for the individual as well as coworkers.

IMCS – The trauma experts

Individuals react to trauma differently; their symptoms may be physical, cognitive, behavioral or a combination of the three. Some people react to a traumatic incident in real time at the scene, while others may experience a delayed reaction in the form of sleepless nights, moodiness, inability to concentrate and difficulty relating to coworkers and family members. IMCS psychologists have expertise in identifying which employees are most likely to develop PTSD and understand the importance of providing appropriate intervention and treatment immediately following a traumatic event. The IMCS COPE with Trauma programs have helped thousands of employees recover from the physical and emotional effects of PTSD.

Predisposed to PTSD

A multitude of risk factors may predispose a person for PTSD. Biopsychosocial factors such as catastrophic thinking, depression, external loss of control and past trauma are among those we often see in injured workers with delayed recovery. Personal resilience, hardiness and ability to manage emotional stress determine how an employee will respond after a traumatic event. A person’s reaction at the time of the traumatic event can also have a strong impact on his or her post-event adjustment.

COPE with Trauma

Injured and traumatized employees may experience physical, cognitive, emotional or behavioral symptoms of stress. Some people experience these reactions immediately at the scene, while others display symptoms weeks or months later. The COPE program for trauma addresses the emotional as well as physical effects of PTSD. As the leading provider of PTSD diagnosis and treatment within the framework of occupational health and workers’ compensation, COPE with Trauma has proven to reduce and prevent the incidence and reoccurrence of PTSD.

Preventing PTSD

Understanding that the lack of resilience, lack of hardiness, and inability to manage emotional stress can predispose someone to PTSD, IMCS employs cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and targeted training to treat acute stress and to teach employees how to better respond during a traumatic incident. These include teaching:

  • Effective coping strategies
  • Problem solving skills
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Breathing retraining

The IMCS difference

As a leader in trauma prevention, identification and treatment, IMCS uses an innovative treatment strategy based on biopsychosocial evidence-based outcomes and a proven track-record for transforming even the most complex workers’ compensation cases. The IMCS treatment approach includes:

  • Centralized scheduling and access to over 1,000 licensed trauma psychologists and psychiatrists nationwide
  • Nationally standardized, supervised and evidence-based functional recovery treatment model
  • Stay-at-Work\Return-to-Work status reports
  • Collaborative team conferences with the adjuster, case manager and return-to-work coordinators

For more information on the IMCS COPE with Trauma program