Work Disability in Soldiers With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Posttraumatic Embitterment Disorder, and Not-Event-Related Common Mental Disorders

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Abstract

Objective: Posttraumatic mental disorders may occur with different affect qualities. Best known is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a conditioned anxiety reaction with intrusions. Another event-related mental disorder is posttraumatic embitterment (PTED), characterized by affect of embitterment and thoughts of revenge, occurring after an event deeply hurting basic beliefs. Knowing about associated disability is important for treatment and sociomedical decisions. This is the first study to explore work-disability in patients with PTSD, PTED, and not-event-related common mental disorder (CMD). Method: In this observational study, 101 soldiers (85% men, 31 years, 50% experienced expedition abroad) with different mental disorders were investigated concerning common mental disorders (MINI) and accompanying work capacity impairment (Mini-ICF-APP). Interviews were conducted by a state-licensed psychotherapist with expertise in sociomedical description of (work) capacity impairment. Patients with PTSD, PTED, and other CMD were compared concerning their degrees and pattern of work capacity impairment. Results: PTSD patients (n = 23) were more strongly impaired in mobility as compared to patients with other CMD (n = 64) or PTED. Patients with PTED (n = 14) were more impaired in interactional capacities (contacts with others, group integration) as compared to patients with other CMD or PTSD. Conclusions: PTSD patients need support to improve mobility in (work-relevant) traffic situations. Apart from this, they are not specifically more or less impaired than patients with other CMD. PTED patients should get attention concerning their interactional problems as these may disturb esprit de corps, which is an essential requirement for service in the armed forces.

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