Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Complex PTSD


The Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder (ASD), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD (the Guidelines) provide general and mental health practitioners, policy makers, industry, and people affected by trauma with access to recommendations reflecting current evidence on how to better respond to the needs and preferences of people living with these mental health issues. Here are the Executive summary and Plain language statement.


These Guideline recommendations were approved by the Chief Executive Officer of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) on 23 June 2020 under section 14A of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992. On 22 December 2021, as part of a continual review process, new and updated recommendations were approved. In approving the recommendations, NHMRC considers that they meet the NHMRC standard for clinical practice guidelines. Each approval is valid for a period of five years. NHMRC is satisfied that the recommendations in these Guidelines are systematically derived, based on the identification and synthesis of the best available scientific evidence, and developed for health professionals practising in an Australian health care setting. These Guidelines reflect the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the Australian Government.


The Guidelines were developed by Phoenix Australia in collaboration with a Guideline Development Group comprising Australia’s leading trauma experts, specialist practitioners working with people affected by trauma, individuals with lived experience of trauma, and a guidelines methodologist: Acknowledgements. They are an update of the 2013 Guidelines, and for the first time, include the new diagnosis of complex PTSD.


The Guidelines are a synthesis of the current research on best practice mental health care for people who have developed, or are at risk of developing, symptoms of ASD or PTSD after a traumatic event. The Guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations that promote recovery following trauma, as well as effective treatment options for those who develop ASD or PTSD.


These Guidelines are published in an innovative online ‘living guideline’ format, which provides potential to update recommendations when there is sufficient new evidence to do so, ensuring that the advice is always current and up to date. Click on the MAGICApp link below to view the Guideline recommendations. Supporting documents which include considerations for applying the recommendations to various populations of trauma survivors are provided as PDFs which can be downloaded from the links further down the page.

These Guidelines have been endorsed by each of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and the Australian Psychological Society.

Guideline recommendations and evidence

The recommendations and evidence are contained in the
MAGICApp online platform.

Guideline documents

Links to the PDFs of the Guidelines’ supporting chapters are provided below.

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