Woman speaking to psychiatrist

Violence is the fifth-leading cause of nonfatal occupational injuries in the United States and workplace violence (WPV) has been on the rise since 2017, despite suspected underreporting.  

The peer-reviewed journal article, Occupational post-traumatic stress disorder and workplace violence in workers’ compensation claims, published in The Journal of Traumatic Stress, found that a lack of resources and treatment modalities for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to WPV exacerbates the effects on patients and slows recovery. WPV PTSD is more frequent in demographics including lower income, younger age, female gender, and employment in retail or finance. This analysis found that WPV increased the difficulty of remaining at or returning to work. Furthermore, results of the study indicate that following evidence-based guidelines for pharmaceutical treatment can support better clinical decisions.  

The study of workers’ compensation claims examined outcomes and treatment of cases of WPV-related PTSD in California’s workers’ compensation system and compared them with those related to other traumatic events. The key findings included: 

  • Limited use of empirically supported treatments for PTSD in generalized populations. 
  • PTSD patients often receive prescriptions that not only lack sufficient evidence but can also prolong recovery. 
  • Lack of recognition of the causes of workplace PTSD may delay referrals to the correct specialists. 

PTSD patients often receive prescriptions that may hinder recovery, rather than medications shown to support positive outcomes. The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) Clinical Guidelines summarize the latest medical research to support clinicians in providing evidence-based care that demonstrably improves recovery outcomes. The study found that three of the top five most prescribed medications, two benzodiazepines and an antidepressant, have been found by the PTSD ACOEM guideline to do more harm to patients than good.   

Evidence-based guidelines can benefit WPV PTSD patients and promote faster recovery times. This study shows the value of referring to evidence-based clinical treatment guidelines to support the best outcomes for PTSD patients. 


Information provided on this blog is intended for general educational use. It is not intended to provide medical advice. ReedGroup does not provide medical services. Consult a physician for medical advice on this or any other topic. 

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