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J Hand Surg Am. 1990 May;15(3):511-5.

Treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder after work-related hand trauma.

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Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.


Posttraumatic stress disorder frequently accompanies severe work-related hand trauma and, when a patient attempts to return to work it can potentially be as debilitating as the hand injury. Four techniques were examined for their effectiveness in the treatment of the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. Confronting and reprocessing of intrusive thoughts, combined with coping skills training, effectively reduced all symptoms except avoidance reactions. An early return to the worksite was useful with those patients who experienced mild avoidance reactions, although many patients were not able to use this. Graded work exposure was a highly successful technique for those patients with moderate avoidance reactions. For those with severe avoidance reactions, on-site job evaluations were used with good success. We believe that actual exposure to the worksite greatly enhances the ability of occupationally hand-injured patients to return to work for their previous employer. An algorithm for treatment is proposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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