Clinical and medico-legal implications of post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychopathology that occurs after traumatic times and the symptoms of which can damage a person’s quality of life for years or even decades; in fact, it is not uncommon for childhood trauma to affect the way a person looks and feels once they reach adulthood.

Due to its characteristics, PTSD is simply a mental health problem; in many cases it has medico-legal implications which must be reflected in expert reports to ensure that legal proceedings (civil or criminal) are conducted with as much information as possible.

In such cases, professionals in psychology bring their experience and knowledge to study a case and, without taking sides, leave in writing what they have observed about the possible causes and extent of a disorder such as PTSD. .

    What is post-traumatic stress disorder?

    This disorder occurs in the face of traumatic events that change a person’s life.

    Post-traumatic stress is a psychological impairment that occurs in some people who experience or experience a traumatic situation of any kind at any stage of life.

    All traumatic situations cause a strong emotional inadequacy with the person who experiences them; in some cases, however, the affected person continues to experience symptoms of fear, stress or terror; that’s when we have a case of post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Mental health professionals believe that The onset of post-traumatic stress disorder is due to a combination of biological and psychosocial causes and predispositions.; however, this alteration is usually triggered by present or past experiences that have generated a high level of discomfort in the person.

    The treatment of PTSD currently has several years of scientific research behind it effective treatments have been developed to help those who suffer from it. The intervention for this type of case is usually psychological therapy, pharmacological therapy, or a combination of both.


      There are several risk factors that can lead to the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder, although these ultimately vary from person to person. according to needs, personality and cultural and life context.

      Some of the more notable risk factors are: having experienced dangerous circumstances as a child (such as violence, sexual abuse or recurrent abuse); observe a catastrophic or very violent event (related to violence or death) go through a long traumatic event related to the death of a loved one or not have the necessary social or family support after this event.

      In addition, other factors that can precipitate the onset of PTSD are experience additional stressful situations after the traumatic event and have a personal or family history mental illness or substance use.

        Psychological symptoms or effects

        Symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder can last for several years and also vary from person to person, but the most common can be grouped into 4 types:

        1. Symptoms of awakening

        These consist of returning to relive the past traumatic event (sometimes exaggerated and magnified by the imagination, other times not) in the form of “flashbacks” very vivid, nightmares or disturbing intrusive thoughts.

          2. Symptoms of escape

          They consist of avoiding physical situations, thoughts or places which recall the traumatic event experienced.

          3. Symptoms of hypervigilance and reactivity

          Symptoms caused by nervousness and by states of constant alertness or vigilance. Examples include difficulty sleeping, startles, and temper tantrums.

          4. Cognitive and mood symptoms

          These are the ones negative cognitive or belief changes. Examples are thoughts of guilt, negative thoughts about yourself related to the traumatic event, trouble concentrating, or loss of interest in hobbies before the event.

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            When to write expert reports and clinical reports on the chaos associated with PTSD in a trial?

            Sometimes it is important to analyze the medico-legal implications of the symptoms of PTSD itself and the situations that can be considered to be causes or triggers of this psychological disorder. We must not forget that post-traumatic stress this is a phenomenon that often occurs due to episodes of violence and careless accidents.

            Thus, some of the medico-legal implications of PTSD can be explored through an assessment process. as to the causes of the disorder are the following:

            • Did PTSD arise out of the dynamics of domestic violence, child abuse, bullying at school, harassment, sexual abuse, or other forms of physical or psychological violence?
            • Has PTSD happened due to accidents caused by another person breaking road safety rules?
            • Was PTSD the result of negligence in the prevention of occupational risks?

            On the other hand, post-traumatic stress disorder also has clinical and medico-legal implications. as to the consequences. Let’s see some of the most important:

            • Can an altered state of consciousness triggered by PTSD explain a person’s criminal behavior?
            • Does PTSD prevent the person from working in their professional field?
            • Do you have any implications of PTSD on a person’s ability to care for dependent family members?
            • To what extent has this disorder damaged and continue to affect a person’s quality of life?

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