A major form of psychological trauma which may occur to individuals across all ages is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With no known diagnostic measures for determining its cause, this mental illness is seen to be common among victims of life-threatening incidences as rape or sexual assault, physical violence and warfare, serious accidents, imprisonment and captivity as well as natural disasters like fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake. In a community sample in the United States, the lifetime prevalence rate for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is 8% (Internet Mental Health para. 5). The National Comorbidity Survey Report provided the following information about PTSD in the general adult population: The estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD among adult Americans is 7.8%, with women (10.4%) twice as likely as men (5%) to have PTSD at some point in their lives (qtd. in “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder” para. 18). Despite many PTSD cases encountered worldwide, efforts for the comprehensive exploration of this illness seem not to be good enough. As such, there is a need for higher awareness to diagnose, have better rates of treatment, and to push for more research on PTSD.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after you have been through a traumatic event (National Center for PTSD para. 1). Characterized by a feeling of helplessness, those who suffer from PTSD experience fear and horror in their lives and to their loved ones. Nevertheless, the degree of impact depends upon the intensity of the cause. According to the National Center for PTSD, the factors to consider include how intense the trauma was, if the victim lost a loved one or were hurt, how close the victim was to the event, how strong the victim’s reaction was, how much the victim felt in control of events and how much help and support the victim got after the event.
The usual but terrible symptoms of PTSD are described as the continuous recurrence of the traumatic experience, the unrelenting avoidance of impetus that reminds the victim of the trauma and a lack of sensation in things which used to be part of the victim’s life. In some cases, patients may have difficulty expressing themselves in both positive and negative ways. Most often, the patient is in a state of shock, tension, anxiety and nervousness. The victim is always alert as though being keyed-up with an exaggerated condition of arousal (hyper-arousal). Typically, patients easily get irritated, have difficulty in sleeping, loss of concentration, and jittery when surprised.
Along with PTSD, other problems may occur such as engaging to alcoholism and drug addiction, feelings of depression, hopelessness, humiliation or misery. The victim may encounter problems in the workplace, in school or in social circumstances, and in interacting with others, interpersonal relationships which may result to divorce, marital conflicts and domestic violence. Adjustment difficulties are also familiar among PTSD patients. Physical consequences may also appear which may complicate to additional medical and health problems.
As to treatments, there are many available therapies for PSTD. In this aspect, therapists must be extraordinarily good because of the complexity of handling traumatic patients. Dealing with the past can be a great challenge for counselors as patients may not be able to handle themselves quite effectively. However, the following treatments have proven its success in many PTSD cases: An initial intervention for trauma is known as Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). The remnants of a traumatic incident are often lessened with CISM as an advanced measure to prevent a complete episode of PTSD. Another is called Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT). It is a form of counseling and is considered the most effective because of its concrete results among other therapies. It includes cognitive therapy, group therapy and exposure therapy. Other basic therapies, of course, encompass education about the PTSD and safety and support measures. Combination regimens are also available. As the term implies, it comprise of a mixture of cognitive-behavioral therapy as mentioned above and pharmacologic treatment which consists of antidepressants and special psychotics. The gist of this paper is centered on three issues as mentioned above. First, there is a need for higher awareness to diagnose PTSD. Traumatic experiences may happen in anybody’s life in one way or another. It happens in the most unexpected times in the most unexpected places. In the deepest sense, it may drive a patient “crazy.” Since PTSD is not really as alarming as other popular acute diseases, it must not be taken for granted because victims usually “lose themselves.” It is also interesting to note that the effects of trauma may not show right after an incident. Some may reveal within 3 months or even years after the traumatic event. It does not choose their victim whether one is an adult or child. Anyone can have it. This is the basic reason why its diagnosis must be mastered by medical practitioners to be able to identify it in the earliest possible time so that remedy can be formulated right away. Nevertheless, no laboratory test can be done in order to determine it as of the moment. Only the obvious symptoms mentioned earlier can be used as basis for the patient’s condition to be considered PTSD.
In relationship to awareness, information dissemination will greatly aid especially the victims. They can actually help themselves with the support of the doctor. The victims can open up and share their traumatic experience to the doctor who may be able to assist them learn better about their condition. In this manner, the victims may be able to adjust better and understand what they are going through. Things may become easier for them somehow and less serious and less intense.
The next issue is the need to have better rates of treatment. Treatment for PTSD at present is time-consuming and prolonged. Meaning, there is no fast track regimen for it especially in some cases wherein recurrence is frequent. Therapies take time to take effect. Counselors have limitations as well in that they need to assess their patients well and this is not an easy thing to do. They have to do it on a step-by-step process. It cannot be done abruptly as it may affect the patients. The same length of time is required for medicines because they do not manifest interesting effects immediately. It may take weeks or so. The danger in this situation is when the victim is the suicidal type. Since treatment takes time, the victim may not be able to cope and resort to suicide. In some cases, victims turn to alcohol and drugs in order to “overcome” emotional pain. Here, the patients do not really “overcome” the situation but merely divert their attention to something else but in the process, they do not really solve the problem but worsen their health status instead. They become alcoholics or drug addicts perhaps and end up destroying themselves. Nevertheless, those who can manage and survive with treatment are lucky and may be able to continue living a normal life.
Finally, the issue on pushing for more research in PTSD should be shed light. Researchers must exert extra effort in knowing how to effectively diagnose, detect and analyze PTSD. In another study, it shows that “In any year, 5.2 million Americans have PTSD” (National Institute of Mental Health para. 3). With the growing complexities of life, it is not impossible that more and more people will encounter traumatic events which may result in irreversible shock and distress. In this perspective, PTSD must be given due attention.
As part of research, doctors must undergo exclusive trainings which focus only on dealing patients with PTSD. This special condition entails special treatment. In this manner, the expertise of doctors may help facilitate PTSD victims more effectively and more efficiently. If this can be done, patients may recover faster and with better prognosis. In its entirety, the population of PTSD patients yearly may perhaps be decreased dedicated with more researches and studies. Who knows that better cure can be discovered or invented to treat PTSD patients rather easily that today’s course of therapy and procedure.
In conclusion, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition which should not be taken lightly. Sometimes, it is taken for granted and not considered a “real illness” but to those who have experienced it or those families with members who have it, it is not a joke indeed. The role of the significant others and loved ones is important for the revival of the patient’s state of health. More significantly, the patient should be able to develop the ability to help himself because the progress of healing is faster if there is acceptance and willingness on the part of the victim in making his condition better.Customwriting.com is real write my paper service!
eMedicineHealth. 29 November 2005. “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.” 24 November 2007
Internet Mental Health. n.d. “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.” 24 November 2007
Mental Health America. 19 October 2007. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).” 24 November 2007
National Center for PTSD. 31 May 2007. “What is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?” 24 November 2007
National Institute of Mental Health. 15 November 2007. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, A Real Illness.” 24 November 2007
“Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.” 19 November 2007. Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia. 24 November 2007
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