Overview of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Essay

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Overview of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Description and History Trauma and stress has been a part of the human condition since we evolved as a species. A “fight-or-flight” response to trauma and stress is a healthy reaction that is meant to protect us from danger. Whether from a saber tooth tiger attack, combat, or a terrorist attack, such events will certainly produce similar psychological effects. However individuals who develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may continue to feel tormented when they are no longer in danger. PTSD is not a new concept and we can see indication of this disorder as far back as The Bible (the Book of Job), the Mahabharata, Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. As the years passed, new names
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PTSD was reclassified as an anxiety disorder and was applied to a broad range of traumatic stressors. PTSD brought to light that the etiological agent was outside the individual (i.e. traumatic event) rather than an individual limitation (i.e. traumatic neurosis). The means to understanding the scientific basis and clinical expression of PTSD is the concept of trauma (Duckworth, 1987). The DSM-III claimed a traumatic event to be a cataclysmic stressor that was outside the range of the habitual human experience. The original PTSD diagnosis was reserved for events such as torture, rape, war, the Holocaust, atomic bombings, natural disasters and human-made disasters (i.e. airplane crashes). Traumatic events are considered to be different from the stressors that constitute the normal vicissitudes of life. This difference between traumatic and other stressors was based on the assumption that, although most individuals have the ability to cope with average stress, their adaptive capacities are likely to be overwhelmed when confronted by a traumatic stressor (Kuhne, 1988. Turnbull, 2006) In 2013 the DSM-V was published and along with it, revisions to the diagnostic criteria of PTSD. Specifically, the criterion requires being explicit as to whether qualifying traumatic events were experienced directly,

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