• posttraumatic stress disorder;
  • acute;
  • sleep;
  • hypnotic medication


Early intervention aimed at secondary prevention is a high priority for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research. Disrupted sleep may have a role in the initiation and maintenance of PTSD. Three of the participants were recruited from a surgical trauma service, and one had sought treatment in a psychiatric setting. All were within 1-3 weeks of trauma exposure and had acute PTSD symptoms that included disturbed sleep. Temazepam, a benzodiazepine hypnotic, was administered for 5 nights, tapered for 2 nights, and then discontinued. Evaluations 1-week after the medication had been discontinued revealed improved sleep and reduced PTSD severity. These observations suggest an approach that may be clinically useful and a need for more systematic trials.