• Posttraumatic stress disorder;
  • veterans;
  • primary care


Purpose: To educate primary care providers on the physical effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), explain why military veterans are at great risk, and describe how to identify PTSD in primary care clients.

Data sources: Current scientific and psychiatric literature on PTSD.

Conclusions: PTSD is prevalent in the military community because of the frequency and type of trauma seen in the combat zone. With the ongoing military deployments, assessment for the presence of PTSD is increasingly important for comprehensive and high-quality primary care. Clients with trauma histories, such as veterans, are at increased risk for physical disorders such as heart disease and psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Implications for practice: Primary care clinicians, including those outside the military health system, are essential in identifying trauma histories and directing clients to appropriate care.