Education on the Signs, Symptoms and Early Detection of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder "Vital"

Occupational therapy practitioners release societal statement on combat-related PTSD.

Bethesda, MD, November 08, 2008 --( Due to the increasing number of military personnel experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) today released a societal statement about occupational therapy’s role in diagnosing and treating this condition.

Excerpts from the statement include:

• “The overarching goal of occupational therapy for military personnel coping with combat-related PTSD is to use strategies to help them recover, compensate or adapt so they can reengage with activities that are necessary for their daily life.”
• “Because of their knowledge and skills in addressing the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial factors associated with combat-related PTSD, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants bring broad expertise to help personnel identify the barriers that are limiting their recovery and participation in meaningful activities.”
• “Combat-related PTSD not only affects military personnel, but also the family and the community in which military personnel interact. If unidentified and untreated, the effects of combat-related PTSD may have a delayed onset and cause problems such as depression, social alienation, marital communication problems, difficulty with parenting, and alcohol and drug abuse.”
• “It is vital for military personnel and health care providers to be educated on these signs and symptoms and detect them early to ensure that military personnel receive adequate opportunities for prompt intervention services and to access support. This is something that occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants can do.”

Please contact the AOTA Media Relations Office for a full copy of the statement or to request an interview with one of the authors:

• Col. Robinette J. Amaker, SP, PhD, OTR/L, CHT, FAOTA
• Lt. Col. Yvette Woods, SP, PhD, OTR/L
• Lt. Col. Steven M. Gerardi, SP, MS, OTR/L, CHT

Founded in 1917, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) represents the interests and concerns of more than 36,000 occupational therapists, assistants and students nationwide. The Association educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources, setting standards including accreditations and serving as an advocate to improve health care. Based in Bethesda, Md., AOTA’s major programs and activities are directed toward promoting the professional development of its members and assuring consumer access to quality services so patients can maximize their individual potential.

American Occupational Therapy Association
Heather Huhman