Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, usually abbreviated as PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that affects people who undergo or experience dangerous or life-threatening incidences (most commonly trauma). These incidences can be classified into either physical or psychological trauma. People exposed to these conditions tend to experience feelings of fear and anxiety and usually display erratic behavior mainly characterized by unnecessary aggression. It is normal for someone to have these characteristics, but what makes them be classified as disorders is when they are prolonged. It is entirely possible for anyone who has been through life-threatening situations to display these behaviors, but most people usually recover after a considerable amount of time. Failure to recover is what leads to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder usually results from trauma that can be classified into two categories, i.e. physical or psychological trauma. Trauma can occur in a number of incidences which may include the following:
- Plane or car crashes
- Natural disasters
- Childhood neglect
- Death (often sudden) of a loved one
- Terrorist attacks
- Physical or sexual abuse.
Relation to Psychology
Post-traumatic stress disorder is believed ( and rightly so) to be a mental condition. This was concluded based on the symptoms that are exhibited by those who suffer from this condition, which include nightmares and flashbacks of the incidents. Although most traumas are physical, they tend to leave psychological scars on those who experience them. These sorts of traumas include rape, kidnapping, war and others such as deaths of loved ones and sexual abuse. The scars that are left behind can only be erased or minimized through psychological treatment or intervention. It is possible for a victim of rape to be given medication and to be subjected to numerous checkups, but the effect of the rape ordeal on his or her mind can only be minimized through psychological intervention. This may include methods like counseling and also sessions where the victims are allowed the freedom to express their feelings about what they went through.
In addition to this, PTSD is known to impact on the brain severely, and there are three key areas of the brain that are normally affected. These are:
- Prefrontal cortex
It is therefore only prudent that PTSD be associated with psychology.
Sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder exhibit very unique and often queer behaviors. These behaviors are normally very explicit and therefore easy to notice. The only difficulty arises when you try to link them to PTSD.
The symptoms can be classified into three broad categories which include the following:
- Avoiding reminders of the trauma. Includes:
- Detachment from others and emotional disconnection.
- Avoidance of places and activities which bring back memories of the trauma
- Loss of interest in life in general and other activities
- Increased emotional arousal and anxiety. Includes:
- Sleeping difficulties- falling asleep or staying awake.
- Bursts of anger
- Reliving the memories of the trauma. Includes:
- Overreaction to physical reminders of the trauma
Suggestions for Improvement of Current Practices
The most common way of coping with PTSD and assisting people with the disorder is through psychological means which includes counseling, while other methods may involve emotional and social support. These methods can be improved or modified to increase their efficiency by doing the following:
- Creating Awareness on PTSD
Lack of awareness has been identified as the biggest obstacle to coping with and assisting sufferers of PTSD. It is virtually impossible to fight what you do not know and therefore people should be enlightened and educated on PTSD so that they can be able to seek early intervention not just for themselves but others as well.
- Provision of Drugs Used To Regulate PTSD
The government should ensure that medications used to relieve pain in those suffering from PTSD are readily available to everyone. These drugs include antidepressants (SSRIs), sertraline, paroxetine, olanzapine and lamotrigine.
- Provision of Emotional Support
This is one of the most preferred ways of helping people cope with PTSD. Sufferers of PTSD usually tend to be withdrawn from others and it is vital for those around them to take the initiative of consoling, supporting and providing an understanding approach to their condition. This will help them to open up and integrate themselves with other people and we all know that talking about problems instrumental in alleviating them.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) afflicts a lot of people in the society, but few people are aware of it. Just like other disorders, PTSD tends to disrupt the normal lives of people, making it very difficult for them to live with it and therefore become disillusioned with life. It is virtually impossible to deal with PTSD by tackling its causes, therefore the best approach is to find ways with which people can cope with it and as a result learn to live with it.
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Gray, M.J. Behaviourial Interventions for Traumatic and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. International Journal of Behaviourial Consultation and Therapy. 2007
“Prolonged Exposure Therapy”. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 2009-09-29