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Posttraumatic stress disorder

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Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division are ready for the unexpected as they prepare to clear a house in Ar Raqqah, Iraq, July, 6.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness wherein a person may remember or relive a recent trauma. The symptoms of PTSD last about a month after the person has experienced a very traumatic event. They can also feel very withdrawn and/or be very anxious and this can interfere with their day to day life. [1] PTSD is a anxiety disorder that occurs after a traumatic event in a person’s life.[2] Events that can cause this type of disorder are:

  • Natural disasters
  • Kidnapping
  • Some kind of crash
  • A violent assault
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Serious accidents and many others.[3]

History

Early History

Posttraumatic stress disorder was called a number of different names before it was actually named Posttraumatic stress disorder. Some of the names were:

  • Battle fatigue or gross stress reaction for soldiers who came down with PTSD after World War II
  • Combat fatigue or shell shock for soldiers who experienced PTSD symptoms after World War I
  • Soldier's heart for soldiers who developed the symptoms of PTSD after the Civil War

Posttraumatic stress disorder wasn't considered an official disease by the APA (American psychological Association) till around 1890. [4] There were early reports of battle associated stress; they began to show as early as 6th B.C. A Greek historian by the name of Herodotus gave one of the first descriptions of PTSD. He saw it when a soldier had come back from the Battle of Marathon; the soldier suffered no injury from war but became permanently blind after witnessing the death of one of his fellow soldiers.[5]

PTSD Today

Today many more people know about PTSD. It has been shown a lot in movies and media such as films from the wars and other traumatic events. Movies have really captured the realities of PTSD. They have shown the effects of the disorder on a person and a person’s family. Not only have movies told about PTSD, but books and novels also get into the subject as well. Books like A Rumor of War, which was written by Phillip Cavuto. This book is thought to be one of the classic works on the subject of PTSD. Another book that goes into PTSD is called In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien.[6]

Types of PTSD

Normal Stress Response

A normal stress response is when a healthy adult has been exposed to a traumatic event such as intense bad memories, emotional numbing, feelings of unreality, being cut off from relationships or bodily tension and distress. These people usually relive tension with in a few weeks of the event. In order to get the relief they need they might attend a group meeting of people who have experienced the same thing. The next thing to be done would be for them to openly discus the symptoms. Then finally they will get the education needed to get closer with the problem.[7]

Acute Stress disorder

This kind of disorder is characterized by panic reactions, mental confusion, dissociation, severe insomnia, suspiciousness, and being unable to manage even basic self care, work, and many others. Few real trauma survivors ever have this type of stress. [8]

Uncomplicated PTSD

This disorder is like having a relapse of the traumatic event; like relieving the event in your dreams or hallucinations, however this type of PTSD is uncommon. [9]

Comorbid PTSD

This type of PTSD combines with other psychiatric disorders and when this happens it is more common then uncomplicated PTSD. PTSD is almost always accompanied with another disorder like depression, alcohol, substance abuse, panic disorder, and other anxiety disorders. You should treat both disorders at the same time for your best results. This is especially true for PTSD and alcohol or substance abuse. [10]

Complex PTSD

This type of PTSD is found among individuals who have been exposed to prolonged traumatic circumstances, especially during childhood, like childhood sexual abuse. These people are commonly diagnosed with borderline or antisocial personality disorder or dissociative disorders. They also have behavior issues like aggression, sexual acting out, eating disorders, alcohol, drug abuse, and many more. [11]

Symptoms/ Signs

There are many different types of PTSD out in the world today, but to make it easier they have broken it all down in to three different categories. These categories are re-experiencing symptoms, Avoidance symptoms, and finally Hyper arousal symptoms.[12]

Re-experiencing symptoms

The first categories are Re-experiencing symptoms. This first category of signs includes:

  • Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts

This can cause a problem for a person in their day to day routines. They can be caused by the person's thoughts of feeling or a word, an object, or a situation and can cause a person to relive the event. [13]

Avoidance symptoms

The Second categories are Avoidance symptoms. These types of symptoms are:

  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
  • Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
  • Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.

These symptoms can also be caused by a word, an object, or a situation that the person hears, sees, or is in. This will change a person’s day to day routine. For example a person who was mugged in the subway may avoid taking the subway. [14]

Hyperarousal symptoms

The third category is Hyperarousal symptoms. these types of symptoms are:

  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.

Unlike the other symptoms these are constant and not usually triggered by things. These types of symptoms cause the person to by stressed and angry a lot of the time. These can cause problems in their day to day life, like they may have trouble sleeping, eating, or concentrating. [15]

Causes

Posttraumatic stress disorder also commonly known as PTSD, is caused by psychological trauma sustained from an extremely traumatic event.[16]People with any type of PTSD have lived through a traumatic event in life.[17] Some of those events are listed below:

  • War
  • Rape
  • Natural disasters
  • Kidnapping
  • Some kind of crash
  • A violent assault
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Medical procedures
  • Combat or military exposure
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Serious accidents

[18]

Treatment

PTSD is caused by a traumatic event and in order to treat the problem you have to deal with your past. This can be hard for people with PTSD. Different treatments for PTSD are as follows: [19]

Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy

A treatment for PTSD is called Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. CBT is a type of counseling that seems to be the most effective type of counseling for PTSD. There are different types of CBT such as Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy you carefully and gradually expose yourself to thoughts, feelings, and situations that remind you of the trauma. [20]

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

This kind of therapy usually involves rhythmic movements from left to right as a therapeutic procedure. Eye movements and other forms of stimulation are thought to work by unblocking the brain's information process. Once the information is free, they can be integrated into a cohesive memory and processed. [21]

Family therapy

PTSD doesn’t only affect you but your family and other around you to. Family therapy can help your loved ones know what you are going through and what they can do to help. It also opens up the family communication lines. [22]

Medication

Another type of treatment for PTSD is medication. There is a medication called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI. This medication is also used for depression. [23]

References

Intro

  • "Gatway to post tramatic stress disorder information". PTSD info. 3/25/09 [24]
  • "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)". Natinal institut for mental health. 3/20/09 [25]
  • "Posttraumatic stress disorder". Wikipedia. 3/20/09 [26]
  • "POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER ". Internet mental health. 3/25/09 [27]
  • "Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)". MayoClinic.com. 3/25/09 [28]

history

  • "Posttraumatic stress disorder". Wikipedia. 3/20/09 [29]

types

  • "Types of PTSD". Psych central. 3/20/09 [30]
  • "Posttraumatic stress disorder". Wikipedia. 3/20/09 [31]

symptoms

  • "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)". Natinal institut for mental health. 3/20/09 [32]
  • "Posttraumatic stress disorder". Wikipedia. 3/20/09 [33]
  • Belmonte, Joelle . "Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)". Helpguide.org. 3/25/09 [34]

causes

  • "Posttraumatic stress disorder". Wikipedia. 3/20/09 [35]*[36]

treatments

  • Belmonte, Joelle . "Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)". Helpguide.org. 3/25/09 [37]
  • "POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER ". Internet mental health. 3/25/09 [38]
  • "What is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?". United States Department of Veterans Affairs . 3/25/09 [39]

Other mental illnesses