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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: the Symptoms and Treatment Meghan A.

Cluckey Jackson Area Career Center Health Tech 1

Abstract The following research paper will cover and discuss the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and how to treat the disorder. Some people who suffer from this particular disorder will also be discussed in relation to how the disorder affects their mental and physical state after a traumatic event.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), was once called shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome (WebMD, n.d) because it was often thought that war was the only cause for PTSD, we know now that this is not the case. PTSD is a disorder that occurs after a person has witnessed or has been involved in a traumatic event. Some types of people who suffer from PTSD are people who have survived cancer, any type of abuse, or an unexpected death of a loved one. Symptoms vary from person to person but treatment usually remains the same. There are three main types of symptoms that people with post-traumatic stress disorder usually experience: reliving, avoiding, and increased arousal. Reliving is things such as nightmares, flashbacks, and sometimes those who suffer from PTSD will avoid things that remind them of the trauma because these things can cause extreme distress; this is also part of the symptom category avoidance. Avoidance can be defined as avoiding places, people, or thoughts that remind you of the event (pubmedhealth n.d). This type of behavior can lead to detachment because you lose interest and stop participating in activities you used to enjoy. The last symptom category is increased arousal which leads to problems such as increased emotions, including increased affection, difficulty falling and staying asleep, irritability, having a hard time concentrating, and being easily startled. Those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder will also experience some physical problems such as high blood pressure, rapid breathing, and feelings of nausea. PTSD can be treated in one of three ways: medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. Doctors use a wide range of medication to improve and control the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. Antidepressants such as Elavil, selective serotin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, Paxil, Prozac, or Zoloft, tranqulizers, Klonopin, mood stabilizers, Lamictal, and nueroleptics, and abilify can help. Psychotherapy is defined as helping the person learn skills to

manage symptoms and develop ways of coping (WebMD, n.d). There are many different types of psychotherapy that are used in helping those who suffer from PTSD such as cognitive behavioral therapy; learning how to change your thought patterns, psychodynamic therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and exposure therapy; having the patient relive the experience in a safe environment helps the person confront the fear and gradually become comfortable with situations that are frightening and cause anxiety (WebMD, n.d). About 3.6% of adult Americans- about 5.2 million people- suffer from PTSD during the course of a year, an estimated 7.8 million Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives (WebMD, n.d). Some of these people include war veterans or soldiers in active duty, assault victims, victims of abuse, unexpected loss of a loved one, natural disasters such as floods, EMTs can also develop post-traumatic stress disorder, and Research has shown that posttraumatic stress disorder(PTSD) can occur with cancer survivors (Ness, 2012). Family members of those who suffer from PTSD, and Young children with PTSD may suffer from delayed development in areas such as toilet training, motor skills, and language (WebMD, n.d). Post-traumatic stress disorder occurs after a person experiences a traumatic event such as being in a car accident or if he/she is a cancer survivor. Symptoms fall into three different categories reliving the incident, avoidance of places, people, or anything that reminds the person with this particular disorder of the event, and increased arousal which can lead to problems focusing. Treatment for PTSD may involve psychotherapy (a type of counseling), medication or both (WebMD, n.d). In conclusion even if those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder have different symptoms and react to the stress in different ways, treatment usually remains the same.

Ness, S.M., & R.N (n.d). Post-traumatic stress disorder can affect cancer survivorsMayoClinic.com Mayo Clinic. Retrieved December 19th, 2012, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ptsd-and-cancer/MYO02003 Post-traumatic stress disorder-PubMed Health. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved February 6th, 2013, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001923 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). (n.d.). WebMD- Better information. Better Health. Retrieved December 19th, 2012, from http:/www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/posttraumatic-stress-disorder