The paper delves into understanding the causes and symptoms of PTSD in finding better treatments. Although it may appear a rather simple notion, trauma can prove to be an influential occurrence that might have lasting impacts on the affected people. Many medical analysts have tried to study experiences of trauma in the hope of finding better treatments of this syndrome which is generally known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): An Overview
PTSD can be experienced following a traumatic event that has endangered one`s well-being (Smith & Segal, 2013).
PTSD signs may comprise of flashbacks, incidence of bad dreams, unreasonable feelings and disturbing sensations (NIMH, 2009).
PTSD causes may comprise experience to traumatic events for example death of beloved ones, war, natural calamities, physical assaults and abuses (Smith & Segal, 2013).
Victims of PTSD
Both men and women can be the victims of PTSD who are exposed to violence and calamities or any distressed events (PsychGuide, 2009).
Children can also be impacted as well people of all ages conditional on the capacity of the person to deal with stress and ordeal (PsychGuide, 2009).
Effects of PTSD
Panic bouts are accompanied by perspiration, dizziness, sickness, quick heart-beating, and breathlessness (Bisson & Segal, 2009).
This may comprise of panic bouts, critical evasion behavior, despair and suicidal feelings (PsychGuide, 2009).
Such a treatment may comprise of the individual trauma focused cognitive-behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization, reprocessing, trauma management and the group TFCBT (Bisson & Andrew, 2009). A lot of studies have proven evidence shown that this is more efficient in dealing with PTSD.
Non Trauma-Focused Psychological Treatments
Such treatments might not be as useful as the trauma focused treatment (Bisson & Andrew, 2009). Prescription medicine is also administered to those patients experiencing PTSD (Pitman et al, 2012). The modern research shows the study of the cells and genetic matters as a possible cure of the PTSD syndrome (Pitman et.al, 2012).
The symptoms of PTSD generally start within 3 months of the occurrence. In some instances, though, these do not start some years afterwards. The gravity and period of the syndrome differ. A number of people convalesce in 6 months, whilst others endure much longer. The symptoms of PTSD generally are classified into 3 main groups, which are stated as follows:
Reliving: People affected with PTSD frequently remember the tribulation by means of feelings and recollections of the ordeal. These may comprise of past memories, delusions, and the nightmares. The PTSD patients also may feel great misery when specific things prompt them of the ordeal.
Avoiding: The affected PTSD patients might evade people, places, feelings, or circumstances that may remind them of the sufferings. That could cause feelings of detachments and isolations from families and relatives, in addition to the loss of interest in activities that the persons previously enjoyed.
Increased arousal: These comprised of extreme feelings problems concerning others, consisting of feeling or displaying love sleeplessness petulance sudden anger problem in concentrating and being easily surprised. The affected individual might also experience physical and biological symptoms, for instance high blood pressure and heart beat, quick breathing, muscle stress, sickness, and diarrhea. The children affected with PTSD might experience from delayed maturity in various fields.
Around 3.6% of adult youths are affected by PTSD in the course of a year, and a projected 7.8 million Americans would endure PTSD sometime in their lives. PTSD could be developed at any age. Women are more expected to have PTSD than men. This might be owing to the fact that women are more probable to be the prey of various kinds of violence.
If there are symptoms of PTSD in a person, then the doctor would start an appraisal by carrying out a study of medical history as well as the physical examination. Though there are no laboratory tests to specifically identify PTSD, the physician may apply different tests to exclude physical complaint as the basis of the symptoms.
If no physical disease is noted, then the concerned person might be recommended to a psychiatrist or psychologist, mental health professionals who are specifically qualified to identify and care for mental ailments. Psychiatrists and psychologists utilize specially planned interview and evaluation apparatus to assess an individual for an anxiety syndrome. The physician prepares the diagnosis report of PTSD on the reported symptoms. The doctor then establishes if the symptoms and level of dysfunction show PTSD. PTSD is established in the person if the symptoms last for more than one month.
The objective of PTSD treatment is to decrease the emotional and physical symptoms, to enhance daily working, and to assist the affected person to successfully deal with the events that caused the syndrome. The treatment for PTSD may entail psychotherapy, medicines, or both.
PTSD: An Introduction
PTSD is considered as a mental health syndrome that could take place when experiencing or observing critical events for instance military combats, natural calamities, terrorist attacks, deadly mishaps, or brutal personal assaults. It is a medically identified anxiety syndrome that can take place in normal people under extremely traumatic conditions. People who suffer from PTSD often recall the traumatic experiences through various symptoms, and such symptom could be quite critical and enduring. They might considerably degenerate the affected person`s quality of life and capability to work efficiently.
PTSD: A Background
Historically, the dangers of experiencing trauma by the human beings have long been recorded. Attacks by 21[st] century terrorists for instance the 9/11 events have perhaps created similar psychological consequences for those survived of such violent behavior. The history of the growth of the PTSD notion is also explained by Trimble (1985).
In 1980, the APA incorporated PTSD in its DSM-III nosologic taxonomy. Though the PTSD diagnosis was quite controversial when introduced initially, it has helped in bridging the disparity between psychological theories and practices. Historically, the major transformation heralded by the PTSD notion was the specification that the etiological cause was external to the individual rather than an intrinsic individual limitation. The fundamental perception of the scientific rationale and medical term of PTSD is the notion of “trauma.”
In its primary DSM-III concept, a distressing incident was thought as a disastrous stressor that was external to the human experience. The theorists of PTSD analysis considered the horrible events, natural calamities, and human-made catastrophes. They believed distressing incidents to be clearly distinguished from the agonizing factors that comprise of the normal variations of life. Due to this reasoning, harmful psychological reactions to these factors would, in DSM-III be termed as `Adjustment Disorders`. This differentiation between distressing events and other distressing factors was grounded in the presumption that, despite the fact the majority of people have the capability to deal successfully with ordinary stressors their adaptive capabilities are expected to be subdued when faced with a disturbing stressor.
PTSD is distinctive amongst psychiatric diagnoses owing to the high significance emphasized on root causes i.e. the traumatic stressor. Indeed, the psychotherapist cannot understand a PTSD analysis unless or until the patients have in fact fulfilled the “stressor standard,” which implies that the patients have experienced an event that is termed as traumatic. Scientific experience of the PTSD diagnosis has proved that there are individual disparities concerning the capability to deal successfully with calamitous stressors. Thus, whilst some people who experience traumatic incidents do not acquire PTSD, others develop the syndrome at the full-blown scale. Such analyses have motivated the analysts regarding the recognition that trauma is not an external event that can be completely resolved. Similar to a pain in a body, the traumatic experience is diagnosed with cognitive and emotional procedures before it can be assessed as an extreme danger. Because of individual disparities in the diagnostic process, various people seem to have dissimilar trauma thresholds. Although, there is at present a new interest is noted in the individual characteristics of traumatic experience, it must be stressed that distressing incidents like assaults, torture, mass murders, and stressful war zone strains are generally faced as traumatic events by almost everybody in the society.
Diagnostic criteria for PTSD comprise of a history of experience to a distressing incident and the signs from each of the 3 symptomatic groups viz. Intrusive recollections, avoidant and hyper arousal symptoms. There is another criterion that relates to the extent of the PTSD symptoms. The data from a study pointed out PTSD occurrence incidents are in the range of 5% for men and 10% for women (Kessler et al, 1996). Incidents of PTSD are much greater in a post – conflict milieu like in Cambodia, Ethiopia etc. (De Jong et al, 2001).
PTSD Diagnosis Criteria
As stated above, the stressor criterion defined that the individuals have experienced distressing events engaging actual or susceptible deaths or harm, or danger themselves or others. Throughout the traumatic exposure, the survivors` personal response was shown by strong fear, vulnerability, or terror. The intrusive recollection, standard comprises of symptoms that are possibly the most distinguishing and promptly recognizable signs of PTSD. For people with PTSD, the distressing events continue, at times for many years or the whole lifetime, an overwhelming psychological experience keeps its power to incite fear, panic, anxiety, sorrow, or despondency. These psychological manifestations in daylight fantasies, disturbing events, and psychotic cases termed in the PTSD terminology as flashbacks. Moreover, trauma-linked stimulants that initiate recall the original event has the influence to induce mental imageries, emotional reactions, and psychological responses related to the specific distressing events. The analysts can utilize these events to report PTSD syndromes in the labs by affecting people with auditory or visual strain-related stimulants (Keane et al, 1987).
The avoidant criterion comprises of symptoms that show behavioral, cognitive, or emotional methods the PTSD patients apply in an endeavor to decrease the chances that they would experience distress-related stimulants. PTSD patients also apply these methods in an endeavor to reduce the severity of their psychological reactions if they experience such stimulants. Behavioral strategies comprise of avoiding any circumstances in which they think a danger of facing trauma-related stimulants. In its extreme symptom, avoidant behavior might seemingly be similar to agoraphobia since the PTSD patient is fearful to quit the house for facing the horrible reminders of the distressing events. Dissociation and memory loss are incorporated amongst the avoidant symptoms and engage the people detaching the conscious exposure of trauma-based reminiscences and thoughts. Lastly, in view of the fact patients with PTSD cannot endure strong feelings, particularly those linked with the distressing events they detach the cognition from the psychological features follow only the earlier. Such “psychic numbing” is considered as a disturbing anesthesia that impacts exceptionally hard on the PTSD patients to take part in important interpersonal interaction.
Symptoms included in the hyper-arousal criterion most strongly are similar to those noted in panic and general anxiety syndromes. Whilst symptoms like sleeplessness and itchiness are general anxiety syndromes, hyper-vigilance and astonishments are more typified in PTSD patients. The hyper-arousal in PTSD patients might at times become so strong as to seem like blunt obsession. The startle reaction has a distinctive neurobiological substrate and may in fact be the most critical PTSD syndrome. The duration criterion shows how long symptoms must last so as to meet the criteria for the PTSD diagnosis for the patients. In DSM-III, the obligatory duration is stipulated for about 6 months. However, in DSM-III-R, the period was reduced to a month, which it has continued so far.
There has been a major focus for the development of gadgets for assessing PTSD in the 1980. Keane et al (1987), worked with war-zone veterans, showed various psychological assessment methods that have established to be both applicable and dependable. Other analysts have changed such assessment apparatus and applied them with natural calamity survivors, assault survivors, and other distressed persons. These assessment methods have been utilized in the various studies above-mentioned.
Neurobiological studies point out that PTSD may be linked to firm neurological changes in the human nervous system. Psycho-physiological changes linked with PTSD comprise of hyper-arousal of the nervous system, sensitivity and increase of eye blink reactions, and sleeplessness. Neuropharmacologic and neuroendocrine defects have been identified in mainstream brain processes that have developed for coping, adaptation, and continuance of the species.
Major studies have proved that PTSD patients can acquire a persistent psychiatric syndrome that could last for decades and at times in their whole lifetime. Those with chronic PTSD patients generally shows a long-term impacts marked by a decrease and deteriorations. Moreover, a slow variation of PTSD in which persons facing a disturbing event do not show the PTSD disorders initially. Generally, the instantaneous precipitant is the circumstances that look like the new ordeal in a momentous way.
If the PTSD patients fulfill diagnostic standards, it is expected that they would meet DSM-IV-TR standards for one or more extra diagnoses (Kulka et al, 1990 Davidson et al, 1993). Generally, these diagnoses comprise of key disorders. Furthermore, there is a valid case to diagnose PTSD as an object of the existing analytical principles as there are no exclusive standard in DSM-III-R. Moreover, high occurrences of complicated treatment decisions regarding PTSD patients as the medical researchers must resolve whether to deal with the comorbid syndrome in tandem or in sequence. Despite the fact PTSD persists to be grouped as an Anxiety Disorder, the fields of variance regarding its nosology and phenomenology continued.
Herman (1992) has claimed that the existing PTSD theory failed to show the major signs of PTSD generally noticed in victims of long-drawn-out, frequent interpersonal violence for example domestic or sexual exploitation and political torment. The author suggested a diagnostic principle that stresses various symptoms, extreme somatization, dissociation, variations, pathological alterations as well as pathological variations in personalities.
PTSD has also been censured from the prospective of cross-cultural psychological view and the medical anthropology, particularly regarding immigrants, and political persons` persecution and victims of non-Western places. Medical analysts helping such survivors claim that since PTSD has generally been diagnosed by medical researchers helping patients from a related milieu, the diagnosis does not precisely show the experimental depiction of distressed persons from the traditional societies and cultures. However, there remain large disparities in the perception of the impacts of traditions and ethnicity on the scientific phenomenology of post-traumatic disorders.
PTSD is a group of mental health syndromes that could be found in people who have faced traumatic events in their lives. The diagnosis of treatment is quite complicated that necessitates precise and effective use of processes to cope with PTSD.
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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Author`s Name