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Essay on Post traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the mental health illnesses. For one to have the disorder, they must have gone through the traumatic event which are usually painful. The advantage of post traumatic disorder is that its caused is known as compared to other mental illnesses. This way a therapist knows what they are dealing with when attending to their patients.
Most of the people affected by post-traumatic stress disorder are war veterans. This is because during the war they come across traumatizing experiences which are hard to erase. Most of the victims end up taking excess alcohol, or get depressed (Thio, 12). Some of the victims end up isolating from the rest and avoid situations that will lead to them remembering what happened during the war.
The government has set up centers where the victims can seek help in case they feel they have symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder. There are veterans who seek help while there are those who decline to have the help.
Casualties of post-traumatic stress disorder find it hard to find the best solution for their condition. The problem that they face is because the condition is entirely mental. By being mental, it affects most aspects of the victim including the physical part. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that causes the victim to experience hyper arousal, avoidance and emotional numbing, Corrales (24). These characteristics result from traumatic events that victims go through in a part of their lives. The study of PTSD involves observation of symptoms.
This leads to many psychologists to believe that the condition arises as a result of the body reacting to normal stress. They believe that this is the normal way of the body of reacting to stressful conditions.
There are several theories that suggest that symptoms of PTSD vary from one victim to another. This variation depends on the ability of the body to withstand and cope with a certain traumatic event. Some victims are able to recover from the condition after a very short time. Others seem to maintain the condition for a long time with some cases lasting for the rest of the victim’s life. This condition occurs as a result of breaking the basic assumption of an individual about his invulnerability and the overall safety in the environment surrounding him. Exposure to these conditions causes the brain to break down and become weak.
The brain of a person in normal circumstances can integrate the trauma in his memory. However, PTSD causes the individual’s brain to form faulty beliefs about why some situations took place. The individual’s brain interprets the activities with guilt and self-blame. This causes the individual to get problems in trusting himself. Loss of self-esteem, control and intimacy causes the person to have problems integrating trauma in his memory.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is the only disorder which is caused by anxiety and has its cause known. This uniqueness helps in its treatment since the therapist and counselors tackle the issue directly. In post-traumatic stress disorder, anything that makes one feel like it’s a traumatic experience may result to the disorder. Some of the events that are likely to cause the disorder include violent acts, life-threatening disease, surviving car crash, natural catastrophe, war, and sexual assault.
PTSD often occurs to war Veterans, for example, after the end of the Vietnam War, most of the American troops returned home. However, most of the veterans were faced with a number of psychological and social challenges. Following the Great War, most of the Vietnam veterans were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. On the other hand, those who were not diagnosed with the disorder, battled with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (Cordesman, 27).
According to the research that was done, the veterans who experienced combat had higher chances of exhibiting post-traumatic stress disorder as compared to the ones who did not encounter the combat experiences. Moreover, among the veterans who had experienced the combat were divided into two groups depending on their roles. The two roles were the initiative and reactive roles. An example of reactive role was the foot soldier that was on the ground during the war. On the other hand, an example of initiative role was a helicopter pilot whose duty was to initiate and control the combat. However, the two roles involved the veterans risking death and serious injuries.
The foot soldier was to take care of the enemy in an environment that was full of surprise ambush attacks coming from the enemy. In this case, the confrontations from both sides were measured in feet. For the helicopter pilot, they fired at the enemy using machine guns and rockets from above and the confrontations were measured in hundreds of feet. The two groups faced different intense of the stress because there was difference when it came to viewing the after math of the battle and the distance (Cordesman, 20). Those on ground looked at the dismembered bodies, smelled and tasted death. Those who survived had to touch corpses as part of their routine.
In reality, no one wants to go through post-traumatic stress disorder. This is because for one to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, they have to go through the traumatic experience, and most of the traumatic experiences are usually painful. Moreover, the experiences end up creating lasting problems and at the same time end up controlling ones stress and anxiety levels.
The ministry of defense is reported to have said that about 11,000 serving members who went to the war have been diagnosed with various mental conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. The charity groups that helped the armed forces personnel adjust to normal life cautioned the government that the large scale redundancies meant that the victims who needed treatment would leave the group in case they lost their jobs.
Notably, the disorder can be re-experienced due to intrusive and recurrent distressing recollections of the event such as thoughts, perceptions, and images. Recurring dreams of the event, feeling and acting as if the event if recurring, exposure or reaction to cues symbolizing or resembling aspects relate to the event, physiological reactions due to exposure to cues resembling an aspect of the traumatic event, persistently avoiding stimuli linked with trauma and also numbness in general responsiveness. These include avoidance of feelings, thoughts or talks linked to the trauma, avoidance of places, people or activities arousing the trauma recollections, inability to remember significant aspects of the trauma, diminished participation or interest in important activities, feeling estranged or detached from other people, difficulty loving other people, losing hope and having a foreshortened future (England 80).
In addition, research indicates that the possible symptoms of this disorder are anger outburst or irritability, difficulty staying asleep or falling asleep, hypervigilance, difficulty in concentrating and having an exaggerated startle response. Research also indicates that this disorder causes impairment in occupational, social and other significant areas of functioning.
Research also shows that not all trauma victims develop PTSD. There is no systematic difference between victims of crime developing PTSD and those who don’t in reference to their demographic qualities such as employment, race, income, and education. Their personality or adjustment pattern may have led to the development of PTSD (Goulston, 28).
Research also shows that there is a relationship between the stress levels associated with crime and the depression before crime and the probability of developing PTSD.
This shows that victims assaulted in a severe manner have higher probability of suffering from PTSD compared to victims of lower stress crimes. Additionally, level of social support limits or prevents the development of PTSD and other psychological consequences of rape. However, victims can withdraw and avoid social support available to them. People may be more supportive in after getting full details of an assault while in some circumstances they nay not offer social support to victims. This is because they believe that the patients deserved it.
Research indicates that the most effective forms of PTSD treatment involve antidepressant medication or cognitive-behavior therapy. They can be used in combination or alone. Prolonged exposure is the psychological intervention that has been applied and tested in an extensive way. The procedure begins with information gathering in the initial sessions. Several sessions follow aimed at relieving the scene of rape from the imagination of the victim. The victims are encouraged to imagine and describe the assault to the therapist as many times as possible. The sessions are usually recorded for victims to listen to them at some time. In addition, patients are encouraged to participate outside the sessions of therapy which are safe and also eliciting fear or avoidance responses (Paulsen 98).
Cognitive therapy defines another psychological approach which can be used in combination with prolonged exposure or used alone. This form of therapy is effective in addressing maladaptive ways of perceiving events in the environment of a person. This can also be used to change unrealistic beliefs and assumptions causing negative emotions such as guilt.
Research also shows that there are numerous types of antidepressants medication which are effective in the treatment of PTSD. These include selective serotonin and inhibitors such as paroxetine and sertraline which reduce PTSD symptoms in many patients within a period of six weeks. Therefore, cognitive behavior is usually combined with medication (Kolk, 66).
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Cordesman, A. H., Frederiksen, P. S., Sullivan, W. D., & Center for strategic and international studies (Washington, D.C.). Salvaging American defense. Washington, D.C: CSIS Press. 2007. Print
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