The Signs and Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or more commonly known as PTSD, is a disorder effecting about 7.7 million American adults. Post-traumatic stress disorder is developed after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm (NIMH). The individual may have personally be harmed, the harm could have happened to a family member or loved one, or the individual could have seen a harmful event that happened. “Post-traumatic stress disorder was first brought to public attention in relation to war veterans, but it can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes” (NIHM). It is natural to feel afraid when faced with danger. In these cases, fear triggers short but extreme changes in the body to prepare the body to defend against danger or to avoid it (NIMH). This response is called a “flight-or-flight” response which is the natural reaction meant to protect a person from harm, but with post-traumatic stress disorder this reaction is changed or damaged. An individual with post-traumatic stress disorder could possibly feel frightened even when there is no longer danger or when there was never any danger.
The signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can be summed up in three categories: re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, and hyperarousal symptoms (HelpGuide). With re-experiencing symptoms the individual can have bad dreams, frightening thoughts, or flashbacks of the event along with physical symptoms like sweating or a racing heart. An individual suffering from avoidance symptoms feels emotionally numb, guilty, ...

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...ns out of 100 who served in OEF/OIF have developed post-traumatic stress disorder. In as many as 10% of Gulf War (Desert Storm) Veterans and about 30% of Vietnam Veterans have also developed post-traumatic stress disorder. In the United States, about 8% of the population will have PTSD symptoms at some point in their lives. This is a growing problem that is a “young” disorder, that after more research, hopefully the United States will be able to get under control and help the individuals suffering from this disorder.

Work Cited
"Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)." NIMH RSS. National Institution of Mental Health, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
"Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)." : Symptoms, Treatment and Self-Help. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.
"PTSD: National Center for PTSD." How Common Is PTSD? -. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2014.
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