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For the Chapter in the Schwinghammer, Handbook (not Wells Handbook anymore) please go to Chapter 66, Anxiety Disorders.



  • imageTrauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing are the most effective nonpharmacologic methods to reduce symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • imageThe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and venlafaxine are considered first-line treatments for PTSD.

  • imageAn adequate trial of SSRIs in PTSD requires appropriate dosing and duration of treatment.

  • imagePatients with PTSD who respond to pharmacotherapy should continue treatment for at least 12 months.

  • imageCBT with behavioral techniques (eg, exposure and response prevention [ERP]) is the most common initial nonpharmacologic treatment of choice in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

  • imageModerate-to-high dose SSRIs are the drugs of choice for the treatment of OCD.

  • imageClomipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) with strong serotonin (5HT) reuptake inhibition, is a second-line treatment option for OCD.

  • imageEight to 12 weeks is considered an adequate antidepressant trial for OCD treatment.

  • imageAugmentation of SSRI treatment of OCD with low-to-moderate doses of antipsychotics may be helpful.

  • imageMedication taper can be considered after 1 to 2 years of treatment in patients with OCD.


Patient Care Process for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder



  • Patient characteristics (eg, age, sex, pregnant)

  • Patient medical history (personal and family, include first-degree relatives’ response to medication)

  • Social history (eg, tobacco use/ethanol use/substance use/sexual activity)

  • Current medications including OTC use, herbal products, dietary supplements, and prior psychiatric medication use

  • Patient health preferences, beliefs, and treatment goals

  • Objective data

    • Blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), height, weight

    • Lipid panel and A1c or fasting blood sugar if starting antipsychotic therapy

    • Electrocardiogram (ECG) if starting a TCA in a child/adolescent, patient with cardiovascular disease, patient >40 years, or with other risk factors for QT prolongation (eg, electrolyte abnormalities, concomitant medications with the potential to prolong the QT)

    • Validated rating scale score (eg, Clinician Administered PTSD Scale [CAPS] or Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale [Y-BOCS])

    • Results of any pharmacogenomics testing


  • Target symptoms (eg, intrusion, avoidance, reactivity, mood/cognition for PTSD and obsessions and/or compulsions for OCD) using CAPS, Y-BOCS, or other rating scale assessments

  • Functional impairment/quality of life

  • Sleep hygiene

  • Psychotic symptoms

  • Engagement in psychotherapy

  • Medication adherence

  • Ability/willingness to utilize and pay for pharmacotherapy or engage in psychotherapy

  • Ability/willingness to return to clinic for continued regular symptom assessment

  • Need to alter treatment plans due to results of pharmacogenomics testing


  • Drug therapy regimen including specific pharmacotherapy, dose, route, frequency, onset of action, and duration (see Fig. 88-1, Tables 88-1 through 88-4)

  • Monitoring parameters including efficacy (eg, rating scale score, sleep, other symptoms such as irritability, functional impairment, symptom diary) and safety (eg, suicidal ideation, adverse effects including insomnia, worsening anxiety or depression, gastrointestinal distress, sexual dysfunction, agitation); frequency and timing of follow-up

  • Patient education (eg, purpose of ...

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