Ptsd Essay, Research Paper
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or (PTSD) is defined as being caused by exposure to violent events such as rape, domestic violence, child abuse, war, accidents, natural disasters and political torture. PTSD has effected thousands of people and it affects children, adults, men and women. It was thought to be a disorder of war veterans who had been involved in combat, but research studied reveals that PTSD can result in many types of trauma especially those being life-threatening. It s been called shell shock, battle fatigue, accident neurosis and post rape syndrome. PTSD has often been misunderstood or misdiagnosed even though it has specific symptoms and is a serious mental illness. Although according to a recent survey it is a rare mental illness even among Vietnam combat veterans where it is commonly associated.
The symptoms of PTSD may simply be a normal reaction to witnessing a traumatic experience. Only if the symptoms persist longer than three months it is then classified as part of the disorder. Sometimes symptoms arise months or even years later after the event. Psychiatrists categorize PTSD s symptoms in three categories: intrusive symptoms, avoidance symptoms and symptoms of hyperarousal.
People suffering from PTSD may have episodes where the traumatic event intrudes in their current life. This can occur in sudden vivid memories that are accompanied by painful emotions. Sometimes the trauma is re-experienced .
This is a flashback so strong that the person thinks he or she is actually experiencing the trauma again or seeing it before their eyes and at times re-experiencing occurs in nightmares. Sometimes the re-experience comes in a rush of painful emotions that have no cause. These emotions are grief that causes tears, fear or anger. Another set of symptoms is called avoidance phenomena. This affects the person s relationships with others and he or she often avoids close emotional ties with family and friends. The person feels numb and can complete only routine, mechanical tasks. Often they are incapable of performing the necessary energy to respond appropriately in a healthy environment. Frequently, people who suffer from PTSD say they cannot feel emotions especially towards those whom are closest to them. Emotional numbness and lack of interest in activities may be difficult issues to explain to a therapist. This is vital in children who suffer from PTSD and therefore observers such as family members, parents, teachers are crucial in providing information. A person with PTSD also avoids situations that are reminders of the traumatic event because the symptoms could get worse when he or she is reminded of the original trauma. Over time he or she can be become so terrified that situations of their daily life are controlled by their attempts to avoid them. Children suffering from PTSD may show a change towards their future, assuming they are not expected to marry or have a career. The last category of symptoms is called hyperarousal. He or she has trouble concentrating or remembering current information and may develop insomnia. Therefore this leads to irritability and causes poor relationships with family and friends. Also many suffer from physical symptoms such as perspiring, trouble breathing, heart rate increasing, dizziness or nausea and headaches.
Many people with PTSD develop depression and may at times use alcohol and other drugs as self-medication to dull the memory of the trauma.
Today, Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have effective psychological and pharmacological treatments available for people who suffer from PTSD. Psychiatrists help people with PTSD by allowing them to cope that the trauma happened to them, without the overwhelming memories and without arranging their lives to avoid being reminded of the trauma. It is crucial to establish safety and a sense of control. This helps him or her feel strong and secure enough to confront the reality of what happened. Also allowing sufferers to realize what he or she witnessed is not their fault in any way so they will not blame themselves. When someone has been badly traumatized, the support of loved ones is critical to their recovery. Family and friends should not assume the traumatized person can snap out of it ; instead allowing time to grieve and mourn is all part of recovery process. Being able to communicate with the feelings of guilt, self-blame, and rage about the trauma usually is effective in helping people put the event behind them. Psychiatrists have several medications such as beta-adrenergic blockers called proranolol, alpa2-adrenergic agonists called clonidine, antidepressants, valproic acid (anticonvulsant and mood stabilizer) and benzodiazepines (sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs). To make progress in easing flashbacks and painful thoughts and feelings PTSD sufferers need to confront what happened to them and learn to gradually accept it as a part of the past. Therapists have several ways to help with this process. A form of therapy for those who suffer from PTSD is cognitive/behavior therapy.
This is a form of treatment that focuses on correcting he or she s painful re-occurring behavior by teaching him or her relaxation techniques. Using other methods the patient and therapist explore the patient s environment to determine what might trigger the PTSD symptoms and work to reduce them and learn new coping skills. Psychiatrists also treat cases of PTSD by using psychodynamic psychotherapy. This therapy deals with helping he or she examine personal values and how behavior and experience during the traumatic event violated him or her. The goal is to allow the sufferer to distinguish between the conscious and unconscious conflicts that were created. Also the individual works to build self-esteem, control and develop a reasonable sense of security. Group therapy can be helpful as a treatment for PTSD. Once someone has been traumatized they often lose the ability to form healthy relationships especially such traumas as rape and domestic violence. It affects people s assumption that the world is a safe and secure place and leaves them distrustful. Group therapy allows sufferers to communicate and form social skills allowing them to be able to create healthy and functional relationships. Also, as in any group therapy it s comforting to know that you aren t the only one suffering.
PTSD is a rare mental illness however it doesn t excuse the fact that it is serious and can t be ignored. Over the past 15 years, research has provided a major breakthrough of knowledge of how people deal with traumatic experiences. For example what places put them at risk for the development of long-term problems and ways to cope. There are therapists who are receiving specialized training so they can have the expert knowledge to provide the care individuals who suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder need.