2020 Volume 58 Issue 6 Pages 565-572
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may arise after events involving a risk to physical integrity or to life, one’s own or that of others. It is characterized by intrusive symptoms, avoidance behaviors, and hyper-excitability. Outside certain categories (e.g., military and police), the syndrome is rarely described in the occupational setting. We report here five unusual cases of work-related PTSD, diagnosed with an interdisciplinary protocol (occupational health visit, psychiatric interview, psychological counselling and testing): (1) a 51-yr-old woman who had undergone three armed robbery attempts while working in a peripheral post office; (2) a 53-yr-old maintenance workman who had suffered serious burns on the job; (3) a 33-yr-old beauty center receptionist after sexual harassment and stalking by her male employer; (4) a 57-yr-old male psychiatrist assaulted by a psychotic outpatient; (5) a 40-yr-old woman, sales manager in a shoe store, after physical aggression by a thief. All patients required psychiatric help and pharmacological treatment, with difficulty of varying degrees in resuming work. We conclude that PTSD can develop even in professional categories generally considered to be at low risk. In such cases, a correct interdisciplinary diagnostic approach is fundamental for addressing therapy and for medico-legal actions.