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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
practice guidelines

The RANZCP has completed a review of clinical practice guidelines on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Rather than develop its own clinical practice guidelines on this topic, the RANZCP convened a panel of specialists to review and recommend suitable external guidelines.

The panel concluded that all of the guidelines reviewed have utility and are appropriate for use. The Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health (ACPMH) guidelines are produced locally and therefore may be most relevant for use in the Australian and New Zealand context. It is noteworthy that the evidence reviewed in all guidelines was broadly similar.

The guidelines reviewed were as follows:

Guideline review report

A detailed guideline review report [PDF; 5.5 MB] was developed to assist with the analysis of the review.

The RANZCP has also endorsed the Black Dog Institute and the University of New South Wales Expert Guidelines: Diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in emergency service workers and the associated Clinician’s Summary.

Key points and considerations when using the guidelines

Expert panel discussion

In this video, Professor Alexander (Sandy) McFarlane discusses the strengths and weakness of the guideline review process and provides guidance on the use of the guidelines.

Key points

  • Guidelines are often situation-specific.
  • All of the guidelines are considered useful.
  • All guidelines emphasise careful diagnosis and treatment planning.
  • All guidelines emphasise the role of psychotherapeutic treatment and the limitations of the role of pharmacotherapy.
  • All guidelines emphasise the desirability of early interventions, although clear data on prevention is still lacking.

Guideline review process

An expert panel, with the appropriate participation of consumer and carer members, reviewed a number of guidelines for the treatment of PTSD using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation instrument (AGREE II) instrument. 

The panel of specialists comprised:

  • Professor Malcolm Hopwood (VIC) (chair)
  • Professor Alexander McFarlane (SA)
  • Professor Warwick Middleton (QLD)
  • Professor Maurice Eisenbruch (VIC)
  • Dr Brian White (ACT)
  • Dr John Collier (NZ)
  • Dr Man-Pui Eddie So (NSW)
  • Dr Deborah Julie Wearne (WA)
  • Dr Bradley Ng (QLD)
  • Mr Graham G Roper (consumer and carer representative; NZ)
  • Ms Janne McMahon (consumer and carer representative; SA)
  • Mr Norm Wotherspoon (consumer representative; QLD)
  • Mr Patrick Hardwick (carer representative; WA)

Approved by RANZCP General Council: 8 October 2013.