Module 3: Assessment

Lesson 5

Other considerations: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

In 2013, the classification of PTSD moved from the class of anxiety disorders into a new class of trauma and stressor-related disorders. Exposure to a traumatic event is a criterion for all of the conditions included in this classification.

Cognitive behavioural therapies and other forms of psychotherapy (e.g., eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)) are considered first-line treatments for PTSD. The most studied pharmacological agents used as first-line medication in PTSD are SSRIs. In some cases, benzodiazepines may be helpful in reducing anxiety; however, they cannot be used as monotherapy in PTSD.



Assessment of the patient presenting with symptoms of anxiety, an anxiety disorder or post-traumatic stress incorporates a comprehensive system review, functional inquiry, and psychological evaluation. It also includes an assessment of the current and past use of prescription medications, over-the-counter medication and herbal preparations. In addition, caffeine, alcohol, and illicit drug use are examined.

Learning activity and reflection

Which of the following screening tools are appropriate for the assessment of anxiety?

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder  (Y)
  • Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Disorder   (Y)
  • Mini-Social Phobia Inventory  (Y)
  • Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (N)