Essay on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

6028 Words Jan 30th, 2013 25 Pages
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
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Introduction
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that presents in form of anxiety disorder, and it usually develops following exposure to an event or incident that is terrifying and mostly associated with an increased risk or actual occurrence of severe body harm. These events exceed the coping capabilities of the individual, resulting into psychological trauma. As a result of the trauma, the affected individual develops fear conditioning in their brain, possibly because of certain brain chemicals that are released. Some structures in the brain are also thought to undergo atrophy. The risk of developing post traumatic stress disorder
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After the American Psychiatric Association classified post traumatic stress disorder, it was generally agreed that the condition resulted from traumatic events and not the previously perceived individual weakness. However, these traumatic events were taken to be stressors beyond the daily human experiences including war, natural calamities, manmade disasters, and rape among others.
Symptoms of PSTD
Symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder frequently alter the patient’s personal life and can affect one’s functional abilities. These symptoms mostly start immediately after the traumatic experience, but often they may appear several months or years since the exposure. These symptoms are classified into four types including reliving, avoidance, numbing and hyperarousal (Fletcher, 1996). Patients suffering from this disorder frequently relive memories of the traumatic incidents in form of flashback and nightmares. This reliving of traumatic events is often triggered by stimuli related to the event.
Avoidance of scenes related to the traumatic event is also a common symptom presenting in individuals with post traumatic stress disorder. The patients show a tendency to avoid stimuli and triggers that are associated with the traumatic memories, and may engage in activities to keep them from thinking or discussing such events. Numbness may also manifest as a way of avoiding the traumatic memories. Hyperarousal is another

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