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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Emergency Responders Scoping Study: Literature Review

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Technical Report

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HumanSystems Incorporated Guelph, ON Canada

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This report aims to inform the emergency responder community about PTSD and traumatic stress. Given that the available literature within the emergency responder community is very limited, this review relies on the military and scientific literature to explore the issue of traumatic stress and PTSD. This review focused on the following four questions 1 How should PTSD be defined, recognized and how often does it occur 2 How can traumatic stress and PTSD be prevented 3 How should traumatic stress and PTSD be treated 4 What research could support management of PTSD in the emergency responder community PTSD is a fully developed form of traumatic stress that is only diagnosed after experiencing symptoms for at least a month. PTSD occurs when symptoms evolve in the aftermath of an extreme traumatic stressor that overwhelms the individuals coping capacities. PTSD is a serious and potentially debilitating illness. As such, it needs to be managed effectively using established and validated treatments and tools. Deliberate efforts to manage traumatic stress are critical, particularly for organizations that require their personnel to be exposed to high-risk, traumatic situations. This review concludes with a discussion of research priorities for the emergency responder community to manage PTSD in a more systematic way.

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