The following 3 cases illustrate the diagnostic challenges related to differentiating brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) in the acute period following a traumatic injury. Such patients pose a dilemma for ED clinicians because of the interplay between head injury and PTSD in the clinical presentation of cognitive impairments in the aftermath of trauma.
Pharmacotherapies for Acute and Chronic Responses to Psychological TraumaAugust 1st 2006
The presentation of patients to the emergency department following trauma is often complicated by the behavioral reaction to the accident that brought them there. In some cases, the mental reaction to psychological trauma is the primary presenting phenomenon. ED physicians and staff often use medication to treat the acute effects of psychological trauma. However, there is little empiric evidence to support this practice.