The purpose of the research paper is to analyze post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) according to the scholars’ findings and studying. The research paper is aimed to examine the causes of PTSD, its symptoms, sociolcultural factors that influence the development of disorders, ways to prevent and treat PTSD.
Post traumatic stress disorder is a condition that emerges from the horrible experiences that one undergoes. There is a high risk that it could worsen people’s well-being and lead to deaths. Post traumatic stress disorder is developed as a result of severe anxiety. Its bases are emotional, physical or sexual abuse, psychological trauma as the result of injury or stressful experience. Such incidences leave a person in a state of feeling helpless and fearful.
A person undergoes stressful situations every day. Its influence on man’s health depends on the level of stress, person’s resistance and control. A patient may have witnessed or experienced sexual assaults, drug addiction, medical complications, and severe illnesses that lead to his poor performances and eventually the development of post traumatic stress syndrome. It can result from the daily experiences that a patient undergoes during his day to day life. There are a lot of professions that possess the high risk of development of post traumatic stress disorder. Scholars admit that people who deal with military service are highly susceptible to different kinds of disorders. The stressful condition can also result from the revelation that one could suffer from life threatening diseases such as cancer. Once patients are diagnosed with the disease, they lose hope and feel that their lives are meaningless and unimportant. At times, people could develop post traumatic stress disorder as a result of violent discrimination. McCloskey, Ann, & Walker (2010) note that over 25% of children, who experience or witness family violence, have post traumatic stress disorder. Binder, Bradley, & Liu (2008) state that direct child abuse can injure the genes responsible for stress thus prompting further development of disorder till adulthood. Children are most vulnerable to resist post traumatic stress disorder. They grow up with the feelings of being inferior in family, society, among friends. Their self-esteem is greatly lowered (Hiley-Young, Abueg, 1995).
If children do not get necessary treatment and support after being exposed to stressful experience, there are high chances that their adulthood will be marred with the PTSD condition.
Scholars distinguish psychological, evolutionary, and neuroendocrinological causes of PTSD.
Patients suffered from PTSD experience difficulties in physiological and psychological evolution. This leads to certain changes in patients’ behavior, way of life, and attitude to the surrounding. Their reflexes become extremely swift. Neuroendocrinological causes of PTSD
prompt changes in the mental balance which may lead to overreactions of patients’ organisms thus releasing more adrenaline than it is necessary.
The disorder can be detected as a result of person’s change in behavior and relations with others. Kinchin (2004) points out three categories of PTSD’s symptoms. The first category involves the avoidance. Patients try to isolate themselves from other people. At this point, patients feel detached from the rest of the world, and they strive to live alone. The patients will also get emotional numbing. They do not care about anything including things they used to care about before. They show no emotions or moods and perceive that there is no future for them. They also do not remember the important aspects of the trauma. They also avoid people, places or even thoughts that can take them back to the events that resulted to their conditions.
The second category of symptoms is arousal. In this case, patients have great difficulties in concentration, and they are easily to get startled. They are inclined to exaggerate situations. Patients are hyper vigilance and do not get asleep easily. They suffer from insomnia very often and get short tempered.
The key characteristic of the third class of symptoms is tension. A patient cannot forget things that remind an incident. Repeated upsetting memories of the event distress a patient. He gets nightmares, strong and troubling reactions that remind ordeal.
Who is Most Likely to Have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Analyzing the nature of post traumatic stress disorder scholars pay attention to sociocultural factors of people who are most vulnerable to suffer from PTSD. Considering the gender factor, findings have shown that women are more likely to experience abuse that results in development of symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder: depression, anxiety, anger, dissociation. The consistently higher rates of PTSD diagnosed among women than men has been explained by a genetic difference or inherent vulnerability of women. Nationwide studies
in the U.S. have found rates of PTSD to range from 5 to 6% in men and 10 to 13% among
12 women (Kinchin, 2004). The duration of PTSD is also substantially longer among women, approximately 5 years in women as compared to 2 years in men (Schnurr, 2009). Despite the higher prevalence of PTSD among women, men consistently report higher overall rates of exposure to traumatic events. Men tend to report more instances of accidents, physical assaults, and combat trauma than women, whereas women are more likely to experience sexual assault (McCloskey, 2002).
Ethnicity and cultural values also influence an individual’s response to traumatic events.
Researchers have postulated that being an ethnic minority can be a risk factor for PTSD due to a lower social status and having less power than the majority group. Higher class people in the society rarely experience these traumatic events thus reducing their chances of getting the PTSD.
The people, who experience violence and poor treatment during their childhood, are the most vulnerable to get PTSD (Hiley-Young, Abueg, 1995). They are exposed to domestic violence, harsh societies, and environments. This way, they get many traumatizing experiences, and they rarely get the serenity of life. Children from Asians and Arab countries especially in the Middle East witness killings, people’s suffering and pain. They are left alone very often to cope with psychological problems. Several studies indicate that Asian men and women report significantly higher rates of childhood physical and emotional abuse than European Americans. However, as in the case of sexual abuse, reported rates vary widely from 21.9% of boys and 22.5% of girls to 82% of men and 69% of women (Binder, 2008).
Thailand has the highest cases reported of PTSD, which could be attributed to the recurring earthquakes in the country. It is closely followed by Indonesia which can as well be explained by the same criterion, followed by Philippines, United States of America Bangladesh and Egypt.
Biological, Psychological, and Social Risk Factors
Most people in the world experience trauma at some point in their lives. These people can range from 50% to 90% of the total population at a given point in time (Kinchin, 2004). However, most of those who experience trauma overcome it, leaving a mere possible 8% to develop PTSD. There have been different models of risky factors that prompt the development of PTSD. Trauma experienced during childhood, chronic adversity as well as stresses related to families increase the risk of trauma developing to PTSD at adulthood. Further, interpersonal trauma lead to more severe problems as compared to the impersonal problems. Some of the main risky factors may be classified as social, psychological, and biological.
One of the social factors is military experiences (Schnurr, 2009). Those who are engaged in military activities are more likely to get the trauma that would eventually develop into PTSD. Those who had gone for the Vietnamese war without preparedness in most cases suffered from trauma after the war. At the same time, those children who received foster care were at a higher risk of getting PTSD. This is because most of them went through difficult patches of their lives. Sixty percent of the total population that had at least a year of foster care at the age between 14 and 18 was higher than the war veterans.
Psychological factors include perception and attitude. For instance, persons who believe that they would never kill or see a killing could get more trauma than that person who thinks otherwise. This is an important factor since those who feel very secure are more vulnerable to trauma in case their defense mechanism fails. Soldiers who believe that they will never get hurt in an attack would easily get into trauma if several of his colleagues and friends are killed in an ambush.
Biological factors are based on the people’s pedigree. In a study that was based on the effects of Vietnamese war, Hispanic ethnic group would be more vulnerable to trauma. This is even more severe with the Hispanic ethnic group with troubled childhood that experienced battering and depression.
Relationship between Different Kinds of Disorders
People who suffer from PTSD will always get new complications as they try to fight the condition. It leads to withdrawal and detachment from other people and a patient tends to start living alone. In this case, a patient exposes himself to other addictions and the most common addiction of people with PTSD is alcohol. As they plunge deeper into alcoholism, they start to get addicted, and they eventually get alcohol related conditions such as liver cirrhosis and yellowing of the eyes. At this point, the lives of patients are in the verge of termination. Others start abusing drugs.
Due to the increased reaction and panic, the patient may get disorders that are related to heart attacks. These are dangerous as they can lead to a cardiac arrest and an eventual death. This is a complex cycle that could lead to death at an early age.
The condition may lead to disorders related to depression. The lowered self esteem, withdrawal from other people and recurring reliving of the actions tend to push a patient away from other people. A patient begins to believe that he is alone in the world. This could easily lead to depression which is a dangerous condition that is the most frequent reason of committing suicides.
Treatments for the Disorder
Treatment of PTSD is not an easy task. At advanced stages, there is little chance of full recovery. Therefore, the best way to prevent adverse conditions is early detection of the condition. Once the disease/condition has been detected, the necessary measures should be taken to ensure that the condition is stopped as early as possible since its detection. Furthermore, social support is a key to the treatment of the condition since there are many social setbacks that can lead to one going back to the times they experienced the trauma. In this case, reemergence of the trauma should be noted and the necessary medical remedies taken and implemented.
Preventive treatment of the conditions is preferred to the treatment of the people who have fully developed the condition. Once the condition has been detected at an advanced stage, there is a need to seek immediate medical care. Most of the treatments include therapies, and they heavily rely on counseling. Some of the treatments that have been used in the earlier period and the recent past are discussed below.
Basic counseling provides education and support to patients. Psychotherapy programs that have given good results are therapies of variant of exposure, Behavioral programs, Stress Inoculation Training, EMDR among others. These procedures are used by the therapist with his own discretion, and he decides whether to use one or a combination of several of them.
Behavioral Cognitive Therapy is also used to change the patterns and behavior of a patient. It tries to eliminate the negative thoughts and replace them with positive and forward looking thoughts. The patients are able to determine the thoughts that disturb them and devise ways to eliminate them.
EMDR is based on a controlled research by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). It is currently the best rated and has the highest effectiveness. Interpersonal psychotherapy improves the relationship between a patient and society. However, this is a sensitive method since it does not control people that the patient is dealing with but only tries to control the patient.
Apart from the therapies, different medication has been developed for patients. However, there are no specific drugs for PTSD. Some of the drugs that are given out to treat PTSD include Glucocorticoids which reduces the chances of PTSD after exposure, Beta blockers or Propranolol which reduce over arousal and Alpha-adrenergic antagonists, which generally reduce the symptoms.
List of Useful Sources
PubMed Health site (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001923) will help person comprehend all difficulties of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It will enable a reader to obtain basic information on the condition, diagnostics and treatment describing in simple non-medical terms. The site provides information about causes of PTSD.
The effects of post traumatic stress disorder might be too dire to fathom. It is devastating to society and needs to be avoided. Efficient efforts should be applied to prevent the reasons that prompt development of disorders. Children should be restricted from violent sites as well as horrible scenes such as accident scenes. Further, small things that parents pick up in the presence of their children should be avoided to ensure that children do not develop the symptoms of the disorder. One of the most important things that I have learnt from the paper is that nobody is secured from disease, but people can prevent it by applying different methods to cope with stimulants of disorders. The most important part is that medication is not the key ingredient in the treatment of stressful condition. The therapies involved in the treatment are the most important aspects.