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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Research Paper


Introduction

The following is a discussion on the posttraumatic stress disorder, a mental condition that comes after an individual experiences traumatic circumstance.

This essay looks into the history, the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, and the individuals who are likely to suffer from this condition, psychological problems associated with this condition and the treatment of the disorder.

History

The posttraumatic stress disorder is an extreme anxiety condition that develops because of exposure to psychological trauma. It is an enduring stress reaction. This condition was first identified in the sixth century and has been associated with soldiers.

In the nineteenth century, medical professionals working with the military noted that military officers in the front lines usually had exhaustion after battle. This was characterized by an extreme fatigue and mental shutdown (Kelleher, 2008).

The terminology used for reference at first was that of gross stress reaction but after the world war two and the Vietnam War other terms were used to explain the disorder.

However, as time evolved and diagnosis of this condition in non-military individuals exposed to trauma was observed medical professionals referred the condition as posttraumatic stress disorder (Fullerton, 2004).

Symptoms

The following are some of the symptoms that people diagnosed with the condition experience. The first one is that the victims experience a recurrent of the trauma. They usually have trouble-some memories of the experience when they sleep or nightmares.

During the day, the individual may daydream or experience flashbacks of the traumatic event. The condition becomes posttraumatic stress disorder when it persists for a period of more than one month (Kelleher, 2008).

Excessive phobia of events or places associated with the traumatic experience also characterizes the condition. This involves avoidance to places, people, and things that remind the sufferer of the experience.

The third symptom involves having sleeping problems where the individual is unable to sleep. The sufferer also experiences very poor memory and low concentration as the mind is always disturbed.

The individuals suffering from this condition are usually absentminded most of the times and they display high sensitivity to touch or when startled.

They are also extremely watchful to threats. The individual suffering from the posttraumatic stress disorder gets angry quickly. They may have impulsive emotions especially when angry and they may be extremely aggressive (Fullerton, 2004).

The fourth symptom is adehonia; this is an extreme disinterest in what a person previously enjoyed. When one is suffering from this disorder, one becomes extremely reserved, and avoids people.

The victims also fail to make any future or long-term plan as they live in fear and anxiety that they might not live tomorrow. This condition is further associated with feelings of hopelessness, a general dislike for life and suicidal thoughts (Yehuda, 2001).

Whom It Affects

The groups of people affected by this disorder are individuals who have experienced traumatic events in their childhood or adult hood. These may involve physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

The second group of people who experience the traumatic disorders may include employees who work in occupations related to war or violence. This mostly includes soldiers and relief or emergency workers in battle zones (Fullerton, 2004).

People or patients diagnosed with the chronic or terminal illness may also experience the condition. People who have suffered from accidents or witnessed their loved ones in physical injuries are also likely to suffer from this condition. The other predisposing factor of this condition is genetic.

There are individuals who have high arousal tendency and adrenaline surges than others because of their genetic makeup (Fullerton, 2004). Such individuals have a higher likelihood of suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder.

Children from foster families or under foster care are likely or have a higher tendency or likelihood to suffer from this condition mainly because they may be exposed to physical abuse or bitter memories, which separated them from their parents (Kelleher, 2008).

Psychological Problems and Treatment

The first psychological problem experienced by people who are suffering from posttraumatic stress is that of having a re-experience of the traumatic event. The thought of seeing a psychiatrist usually never appears safe and many of the patients fear stigmatization especially the soldiers.

The first step towards treatment of this psychological disorder is by educating the patient on what they are suffering from.

This involves having a one on one session where the therapist can inform them of the disorder and other patients who have suffered from the same condition and recovered to make them come to terms with the condition and to stop them from living in denial.

The second treatment is engaging the patient with a psychotherapist. The psychotherapy session is an interview where the therapist asks the patient questions and explanations about what they have experienced.

This helps the therapist to have a structured memory of the traumatic event. It also helps the patient to have a sense of relief by talking about the traumatic experience.

The other treatment involves having targeted interventions. These interventions also refer to the cognitive behavior therapy. It is training the mind to accept those experiences and teaching it to cope with such traumatic memories by helping the individual to overcome avoidance.

These psychological procedures are directed to assist the individual to stop avoidance behaviors. It involves helping the individual to identify the thoughts or the stimuli that makes them afraid. It also involves training the individuals to replace the distressing thoughts with less distressing thoughts (Kelleher 2008).

By exposing the individual to stimuli that triggers the memory of those events, the individual learns how to cope with thoughts of fear and anger.

This psychological procedure involves the individuals, for example war survivors or soldiers, watching a video on war together with a therapist who guides them on how to react to certain incidences that they are uncomfortable or nervous about.

This helps the patients to come to terms with the traumatic event and enables them to do away with avoidance tendencies (Yehuda, 2001).

The other therapy is the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It involves having the therapist assisting the patient to talk about the traumatic event while the patient is looking at the therapist’s rapidly moving finger (Kelleher, 2008).

This therapy is especially helpful to patients who are experiencing low concentration and lapse in memory because of the posttraumatic stress disorder. It helps the patients to regain their concentration and alertness especially if they have been experiencing daydreams.

Although some researchers dispute this mode of treatment, it has nevertheless been effective in PTSD recovery (Kelleher, 2008).

The other psychological treatment of the posttraumatic stress disorder is the interpersonal therapy. The interpersonal psychotherapy involves having the patients in support groups such as family support groups that assist the patient to share the traumatic experience (Kelleher, 2008).

The support groups also link the patients with other patients and people who have recovered from the condition. Such support helps the patients to accept their condition and to realize that it is treatable and one can recover from the condition after the treatment (Yehuda, 2001).

Other than having the psychological procedural treatment, patients suffering from the posttraumatic stress condition can recover by having medical assistance. The victims may be given particular drugs to deal with loss of sleep and hypersensitivity.

The drugs include antidepressants such as fluexetine and paroxetine (Kelleher, 2008). Other forms of drugs include adrenergic antagonists that aim at reducing hyper-arousal in the patients by containing the adrenaline and nightmare experiences.

These drugs are effective when administered for a period of more than one year. The other drugs usually administered in the treatment of the posttraumatic disorder are the mood stabilizers that help the patient to be calm; they also significantly reduce sleep disturbances (Yehuda, 2001).

Conclusion

The posttraumatic stress disorder is a condition, which has troubled many people but has not received due attention especially in the treatment of non-war patients. As a result, it leads to mental illness if it is not addressed early enough.

An individual suffering from this condition especially the soldiers must stop fearing stigma and seek treatment before this condition worsens. There are different medical procedures for this disorder and they differ because different patients experience the symptoms differently.

However, for the practitioner to diagnose or to consider the individual exhibiting such symptoms as suffering from the posttraumatic stress disorder, the individual must have experienced the symptoms for one month.

The posttraumatic disorder has treatments that are both psychological and medical. Applying both psychological and medical procedures to deal with the condition is necessary for the treatment procedures to have the desired outcome.

References

Fullerton, C. (2004). Acute stress disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression in disaster or rescue workers. American Journal of Psychiatry, 11, 1370-1376.

Kelleher, I. (2008). Associations between childhood traumas, bullying, and psychotic symptoms among a school-based adolescent sample. Britain’s Journal of Psychiatry, 5, 378-382.

Yehuda, R. (2001). Biology of posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 7, 41-46.

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