Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental disorder that is experienced by some people after going through some shocking or scary events, after a traumatic experience, an individual feels afraid and fear triggers many changes in the body and help defend danger or avoid it (Kozaric-Kovacic 9). The fight to flight situation is the reaction of the trauma, and the body protects the person from harm. If the symptoms persist, the person is therefore diagnosed with PSTD. Some individuals experience unexpected death of loved ones, and the disorder tends to begin early although some start years afterward.
Symptoms, Risk factors and onset age
The symptoms are supposed to last more than a month, and the situation becomes severe enough to interfere with the relationship or the daily activities.
For someone to be diagnosed with PSTD, an adult must have the following for at least one month. The person should have one re-experiencing symptoms like flashbacks. This kind of symptoms allows one to relive the trauma over and over like the racing heart and sweating. The other re-experiencing symptoms that the patient should have so that he can be diagnosed with PSTD is bad dreams and frightening thoughts (Kozaric-Kovacic 9). The re-experiencing symptoms happen as a barrier in the person’s everyday routine. The symptoms begin from the person feelings and out of his ideas, and that’s why they keep reoccurring.
All the things that remind them of the tragic event like object, words or situation and they are also the cause of re-experiencing symptoms. The diagnosis also happens if there is at least one avoidance system, two arousal and reactivity symptoms and mood symptoms and cognition experience. The avoidance symptoms include the person staying away from events that can remind them of their predicament and also when they tend to evade what they are feeling about the traumatic event. Arousal symptoms are constant, and the symptoms can make someone angry and feel stressed. They start to lose appetite, sleep and they become slow in their jobs (“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatments and Drugs – Mayo Clinic”). Moods and cognitive becomes worse after the traumatic events, but they are not caused by being injured or abusing drug but rather by the alienation of the person with the loved ones.
The risk factor of PTSD involves all the ages, but some factors might make someone more susceptible than others like experiencing child abuse or neglect and having mental health problems like anxiety and depressions. If someone has a relative, who has mental problems that include depression or even PTSD and lack of enough support systems from the family and friends (“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatments And Drugs – Mayo Clinic”). If someone had a combat exposure, threatened with a weapon, being physically attacked and childhood abuse experience together with events like fire, robbery, car crashes or planes, terrorist’s attacks and other extreme life events that can threaten a person.
Course of Disease Progression
Symptoms of PSTD begin within the first three months after the traumatic event has happened. There might be a delay of months or even years before the first symptoms have appeared. Acute Stress Disorder is what is experienced first after the immediate aftermath of the trauma (“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatments And Drugs – Mayo Clinic”). The duration that occurs with complete recovery usually varies within the three months of incubation in almost half of the reported cases. Other patients experience longer periods like 12 months after the trauma. The course is usually characterized by warning and waxing symptoms. The reactivation of symptoms might occur in response to the reminder of the original trauma, trauma events, and life stressors.
The duration and severity of the exposure of the traumatic event are the most important factors affecting the developing likelihood of the disorder. The disorder can develop in individuals who do not have the predisposing conditions especially if the stressor is very extreme. There is an evidence of a heritable component to the transmission of PTSD (“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatments And Drugs – Mayo Clinic”). High degree of vulnerability can be recorded if someone has a history of depression and therefore susceptible to PTSD.
Effects on the Individual, Family, Friends and Society
PTSD has various effects on the individual and the people around the person lie the family. Individuals who have PTSD have hard feeling emotions and therefore they detach themselves from their loved ones, therefore, giving those who love them a hard time to live around them (Wimalawansa “Causes And Risk Factors For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”). They might have hard personal relationships which might affect their children giving them behavioral problems due to lower parental satisfaction. Family and friends feel guilty about a fact that they can’t change what had happened to the individual or they can lie in avoidance and fear of what the person might do when he or she remembers the tragic event (Wimalawansa “Causes and Risk Factors for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”). The worrying of family members might cause depression among the members of the family, and they might develop other complications out of anger and the feeling of helplessness.
PTSD can be treated, and when the treatment occurs, it allows someone to have the sense of control over their life (Wimalawansa “Causes and Risk Factors for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”). The primary treatment is psychotherapy, and one can also try the secondary treatment of medication. A patient might be required to carry out different types of psychotherapy like cognitive therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and exposure therapy. Therapy is necessary to allow the individual to acquire control of their life and fight fear after the traumatic event (Salyers et al. 17). Apart from therapy other treatment can be considered which are referred to as a secondary treatment. The treatment is using several medications which can help to improve symptoms of PTSD.
The types of medication include antidepressants, prazosin, and anti-anxiety medications. The medications are effective in various ways. Antidepressants are the medication which helps the symptoms of depression and anxiety (“Office of Research & Development”). The drugs assist in eradicating the sleep problem and increasing one concentration. The treatment has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat PTSD. Prazosin is used to treat symptoms like recurrent nightmares and insomnia; the drug only suppresses nightmares in people with PTSD. Anti-anxiety medications improve the feelings of anxiety and stress for a short while so that severe anxiety can rely on; the drugs are however not taken for an extended period since they are said to have the potential for abuse.
Barriers of Treatment
There have been reported cases of barriers that are related to the treatment of PTSD. It has been recorded that people who have psychological injuries including PTSD receive minimally adequate treatment for their injuries. It has been noted that there has been a big gap between the number of service members and the veterans who had PTSD and the number of people who receive high-quality care for it (“Office of Research & Development”). The gap, therefore, represents extensive human suffering and loss of productivity. Barriers that exists are the patient barriers, provider barrier, and institutional barriers. The patient barrier could be about the employment effects that seeks treatment for PSTD; some have got the mentality that mental health care is ineffective. There is also the barrier that exists when people do not have adequate information on resources for care, financial concerns and logistic problems such as the distance of traveling.
The provider’s barrier might include lack of training, treatment locations issues like transportation in war regions and also a lack of enough time. The organizational level barrier includes lack of requirements to do serious screening and treatment. The treatment programs which require significant time commitment such as the occupational rehabilitation treatment program might be a challenge since the time might be limited (“Office Of Research & Development”). Some of the internal barriers that might be a challenge to treatment include public stigma and naïve public exhibit prejudice. A lot of people associate individuals with extensive mental illness with segregation, and they stigmatize the people affected pushing them to the edge.
Complications of Treatment and Medication
Possible complications related to PTSD include increased the risk of suicide whereby it is brought about by panic and risk of suicidal thoughts. If the person’s phobias are high, they might be in danger of committing suicide (Salyers et al. 18). They might also have some depression related diseases like the bipolar disorders which might worsen the anxiety increasing the risk of agitation, insomnia, and concentration problem. Other complications like gastrointestinal disorder, obesity, and loss of weight, allergic conditions and headaches might be increased if the anxiety is not suppressed.
Nature vs. Nurture
It has been identified that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be a result of nature and nurture together. It has been found that the genes and environment might interact to influence the risk of someone getting PSTD. In the sense of nurturing, individuals who experience a traumatic experience when they were children, they are likely to develop PTSD in adulthood than those exposed to one of the incidents (Salyers et al. 19). The study has indicated that individuals with a particular genetic mutation, have a high risk of developing PSTD. According to the information provided, PTSD is complex anxiety disorder which incorporates re-experiencing, arousal and avoidance to life-threatening circumstances. Moreover, it is an apparent effect of the environmental factors, and it has a heritable component. The study shows that genetic factors cause almost 30% of PTSD symptoms.
There is hope for the prevention and treatment of PTSD whereby veterans have conducted the National Center for PSTD to set agenda and research which would be used to educate individuals on the issues related to the disorder and how to prevent and seek treatment (Salyers et al. 20). The research will determine the prevalence of PTSD in women, prolonged exposure therapy, and cognitive therapy will be useful to reduce the symptoms of PTSD. Prazosin drugs have also been found to be effective drugs which can be relied on to reduce high blood pressure, prostate problems and can also be used to suppress nightmares and sleep loss in the PTSD patients.
“Office Of Research & Development.” Research.va.gov. N.p., 2016. Web. 5 Oct. 2016.
“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatments And Drugs – Mayo Clinic.” Mayoclinic.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 4 Oct. 2016.
Kozaric-Kovacic, Dragica. “Causes, Diagnoses And Treatment Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Acta Neuropsychiatrica 21.S2 (2009): 9. Web.
Salyers, Michelle P. et al. “Barriers To Assessment And Treatment Of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder And Other Trauma-Related Problems In People With Severe Mental Illness: Clinician Perspectives.” Community Mental Health Journal 40.1 (2004): 17-31. Web. 5 Oct. 2016.
Wimalawansa, Sunil J. “Causes And Risk Factors For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Importance Of Right Diagnosis And Treatment.” Asian Journal of Medical Sciences 5.2 (2013): n. pag. Web.