Post traumatic stress disorder occurs after a person is exposed to a
terrifying ordeal which causes either grave physical or psychological
harm where harm was threatened. It can become an extremely
debilitating disorder to the persons life. The person can have
problems interacting in social and family life, occupational
instability and the breakdown of marriages can occur. The disorder is
triggered after traumatic events such as violent personal assaults
such as mugging or rape, or to family, natural disasters such as
earthquakes, accidents such as car crashes, human disasters such as
9/11 and after military combat such as the soldiers who fought in
The symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder may occur immediately
following a traumatic experience, weeks or months later or even years
later. The main symptoms include the re-experience of the trauma, via
flashbacks, memories, nightmares and especially when exposed to events
or objects reminiscent of the trauma. A general lack of responsiveness
or ‘emotional numbness’ also occurs, often followed with symptoms such
as tiredness, headaches, and chest pains. These symptoms are often
treated separately are not recognised as being linked to PTSD. The
disorder is diagnosed if these symptoms persist for longer than a
month and produce clinically significant distress. There are also
often other disorders which accompany PTSD such as depression and drug
and alcohol abuse.
The disorder develops in about 25% of people who experience a
traumatic event. It occurs in both men and women though it is more
likely to occur in women.
... middle of paper ...
...ral therapy works with cognitions to change
emotions, thoughts and behaviours produced by PTSD patients. A
successful treatment is exposure therapy which uses careful repeated
detailed imagery of the trauma in a safe context to help the person
face and gain control of their fear and distress. ‘Flooding’ involves
exposure all at once, another method, desensitization is a gradual
build up to the worst situation imaginable to the patient.
Group therapy is another effective treatment and involves a number of
trauma patients sharing openly sharing their traumatic experiences.
This helps as the patients can talk about there experience within
safety, cohesion and empathy of others in similar circumstances.
Psychodynamic therapy focuses on the emotional conflicts that occur
during childhood that lead to PTSD in later life.
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