Post -Traumatic Syndrome

Post -Traumatic Syndrome


Introduction for Nursing Diagnosis: Post-Traumatic Syndrome

Post-traumatic syndrome is a common diagnosis used by healthcare professionals to describe the physical, psychological, and emotional problems experienced by an individual who has experienced or witnessed a noxious event. Patients may experience anxiety, depression, flashbacks, nightmares, distorted beliefs, and/or difficulty in forming relationships as a result of their traumatic experiences. It is important for nurses to be aware of the signs and symptoms of post-traumatic syndrome in order to provide appropriate care and treatment.

Nursing Diagnosis Definition

Post-traumatic syndrome is defined by NANDA (2018) as “a disturbance in mood characterized by fear, anger, and/or numbness that occurs after exposure to a traumatic event” (p. 252).

Defining Characteristics


  • Fear of recurrence of the trauma
  • Anxiety when exposed to reminders of the trauma
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability or extreme mood swings
  • Persistent thoughts or memories of the trauma


  • Social isolation
  • Evidence of agitation or aggressiveness
  • Hypervigilance
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Substance abuse
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior

Related Factors

The related factors for post-traumatic syndrome include:

  • Previous exposure to traumatic events
  • Lack of social support
  • Personality or psychiatric disorders
  • Inability to cope with the traumatic event
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Environmental stressors

Risk Population

Individuals at risk for developing post-traumatic syndrome include those who have been exposed to a traumatic event, including war veterans, victims of abuse, survivors of natural disaster, and those who have witnessed a violent act.

Associated Problems

Patients with post-traumatic syndrome may develop associated problems such as depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and/or suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Suggestions for Use

Nurses should assess for the presence of post-traumatic syndrome in patients who have experienced or witnessed a noxious event. In addition, it is important to assess for any associated problems and refer patients to mental health services when necessary.

Suggested Alternative Nursing Diagnosis

Alternative NANDA diagnoses for post-traumatic syndrome include:

  • Fear
  • Readiness for enhanced resilience
  • Impaired verbal communication
  • Ineffective coping
  • Ineffective family coping

Usage Tips

When assessing for post-traumatic syndrome, it is important to provide a safe and supportive environment for the patient. In addition, it is important to encourage the patient to discuss the traumatic event and any subsequent reactions.

NOC Results

Outcomes that may be seen with post-traumatic syndrome include:

  • Coping
  • Mood Disturbance
  • Fear Management
  • Sleep/Rest
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Self-care

NIC Interventions

Interventions that can help patients cope with post-traumatic syndrome include:

  • Provide emotional support
  • Encourage the patient to express emotions
  • Refer patient to mental health services
  • Provide relaxation techniques
  • Encourage resumption of normal activities
  • Encourage family involvement in treatment


Post-traumatic syndrome is a common diagnosis among individuals who have experienced a noxious or traumatic event. It is important for nurses to be aware of the signs and symptoms of post-traumatic syndrome in order to provide appropriate care and treatment. Nurses can use nursing diagnosis definitions, defining characteristics, related factors, risk populations, associated problems, and interventions to help manage patients with post-traumatic syndrome.


  • What are the defining characteristics of post-traumatic syndrome?
    • The defining characteristics of post-traumatic syndrome include fear of recurrence of the trauma, anxiety when exposed to reminders of the trauma, exaggerated startle response, disturbed sleep, difficulty concentrating, irritability or extreme mood swings, persistent thoughts or memories of the trauma, social isolation, evidence of agitation or aggressiveness, hypervigilance, depression, suicidal ideations, substance abuse, and inappropriate sexual behavior.
  • What are some interventions that can help patients with post-traumatic syndrome?
    • Interventions that can help patients cope with post-traumatic syndrome include providing emotional support, encouraging the patient to express emotions, referring the patient to mental health services, providing relaxation techniques, encouraging resumption of normal activities, and encouraging family involvement in treatment.

Isabella White

Hello to all nursing enthusiasts! I'm Isabella White and I'm thrilled to welcome you to this space dedicated to the exciting world of nursing. Let me share a little about myself and what we can expect together on this journey. About Me: Nursing is more than just a profession to me, it's a calling. When I'm not caring for my patients or learning more about health and wellness, you'll find me enjoying the great outdoors, exploring new trails in nature, or savoring a good cup of coffee with close friends. I believe in the balance between caring for others and self-care, and I'm here to share that philosophy with you. My Commitment to You: In this space, I commit to being your reliable guide in the world of nursing. Together, we'll explore health topics, share practical tips, and support each other on our journeys to wellness. But we'll also celebrate life beyond the hospital walls, finding moments of joy in the everyday and seeking adventures that inspire us to live fully. In summary, this is a place where nursing meets life, where we'll find support, inspiration, and hopefully a little fun along the way. Thank you for joining me on this exciting journey. Welcome to a world of care, knowledge, and connection! Sincerely, Isabella White

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