Diagnosis and Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Essay

Diagnosis and Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Essay

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a traumatic event (Riley). A more in depth definition of the disorder is given by Doctor’s Nancy Piotrowski and Lillian Range, “A maladaptive condition resulting from exposure to events beyond the realm of normal human experience and characterized by persistent difficulties involving emotional numbing, intense fear, helplessness, horror, re-experiencing of trauma, avoidance, and arousal.” People who suffer from this disease have been a part of or seen an upsetting event that haunts them after the event, and sometimes the rest of their lives. There are nicknames for this disorder such as “shell shock”, “combat neurosis”, and “battle fatigue” (Piotrowski and Range). “Battle fatigue” and “combat neurosis” refer to soldiers who have been overseas and seen disturbing scenes that cause them anxiety they will continue to have when they remember their time spent in war. It is common for a lot of soldiers to be diagnosed with PTSD when returning from battle. Throughout the history of wars American soldiers have been involved in, each war had a different nickname for what is now PTSD (Pitman et al. 769). At first, PTSD was recognized and diagnosed as a personality disorder until after the Vietnam Veterans brought more attention to the disorder, and in 1980 it became a recognized anxiety disorder (Piotrowski and Range). There is not one lone cause of PTSD, and symptoms can vary from hallucinations to detachment of friends and family, making a diagnosis more difficult than normal. To treat and in hopes to prevent those who have this disorder, the doctor may suggest different types of therapy and also prescribe medication to help subside the sympt...


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...d disregard clues in a situation and fail to warn the person to use safety and caution (Pitman et al. 771). Research has shown that when affected by PTSD the hippocampal size has decreased between “0.0-0.5 which in percentage is 0-20%”, and that is a relatively large margin (Vilens and Sher 5). Vilens and Sher examined the reduction in the hippocampus by types of traumatic events and found that, “there seems a trend toward combat trauma resulting in larger changes, followed by childhood sexual abuse, accidents and interpersonal violence” (5). Studies on the amygdala have shown an increase in reaction to trauma related stimuli, and also play a role in the extent of the symptoms that one experiences (Pitman et al. 772). The prefrontal cortex, and corpus callosum both show lower volumes in people diagnosed with PTSD rather than those who are not (Vilens and Sher 5-6).

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