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PTSD Symptoms and Treatments

PTSD Symptoms and Treatments:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is one of the deepest injuries that
Vietnam War veterans received during their time of battle (Arpey). Unlike
many other
illnesses, PTSD cannot be measured by physical scientific fact (Arpey).
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Category:
science
Paper Title:
PTSD Symptoms and Treatments
Text:
PTSD Symptoms and Treatments
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is one of the deepest injuries that
Vietnam War veterans received during their time of battle (Arpey). Unlike
many other
illnesses, PTSD cannot be measured by physical scientific fact (Arpey). It is
something
that can only be understood by a person who has experienced something as
traumatic as
the Vietnam War.

The definition for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder given by the Websters
New
World College Dictionary is, a condition characterized by recurring and,
often, disabling
symptoms of anxiety, depression, etc., that later affects some persons who
have
experienced a traumatic event or situation, especially combat.

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PTSD was first named Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome after the war because
symptoms did not seem to appear for years, even decades (Arpey). After the
symptoms
actually did start showing up and making an impact on society, the government
started to
be concerned. They started doing extensive research on the syndrome and then
went
further to name it a disorder (Arpey).

PTSD can occur in anyone– no matter what the age, as long as they have been
through a traumatic experience. Many common disasters that bring on PTSD are
rapes,
floods, abductions, airplane crashes, and hostage situations (Morrison 269).

Also,
children that have undergone sexual abuse are likely to suffer from it
(Morrison 269). It
seems, however, that survivors of combat are the most frequent victims
(Morrison 269).

It is more likely for a younger adult to acquire PTSD than for someone that
is
older(Morrison 269). This could be why such an apparent outbreak of PTSD
occurred
after the Vietnam War. After all, the average age of a soldier drafted to
Vietnam was
nineteen.

Some of the symptoms that occur with PTSD are: difficulty falling asleep
or staying asleep, irritability or outbursts of anger, difficulty
concentrating, hypervigilance,
and exaggerated startle response (Frances 428). The PTSD sufferer often goes
through
re–experiencing of the event or events that have traumatized he or she
(Frances 428). It
can occur in many different ways, although the person goes through much
avoidance and
self– denial of the subject.

Many sufferers have extensive personal problems in their lives while dealing
with
PTSD. Right after the event, the person often experiences psychic numbing,
which is a
large disinterest to the outside world (Frances 425). Much of the time, the
person stops
participating in activities that they once enjoyed, and start to feel
detached from people
that they once felt strong emotions toward (Frances 425). They seem to have a
problem
with intimacy, affection, and sexuality (Frances 425). The problem is, like
everything else,
they do not care about it anymore. Often times, the individual can not
foresee themselves
having any kind of a future such as a marriage, children, or a career. They
even believe
that they will have a shortened life span (Frances 425).

Much of PTSD trauma is brought on by guilt. The feeling that, I should
have
done something to save them, or It should have been me, not him,
occur in the
sufferers (Frances 425). It is difficult for these people to deal with the
fact that they
survived and someone that they cared about had to die. This is one of the
main reasons
that PTSD sufferers have a problem getting too close to anyone while dealing
with all of
these emotions. They fear that they will be put in a similar situation that
would resemble
what happened to them in Vietnam. It is imperative for them to avoid these
situations and
thoughts at all costs. (Frances 425).

PTSD brings a lot of pain and suffering upon Vietnam veterans and their
families,
but the good news is that there is help for them. Therapists have studied
many PTSD
patients and found different helpful approaches to use (Friedman). Some of
the most
common therapeutic treatments are: Psychodynamic therapy,
cognitive–behavioral
therapy, pharmacotherapy, group, family, couples, and inpatient treatment,
and treatment
for patients dually diagnosed with PTSD and alcoholism/substance abuse
(Friedman).

Alcohol and drug abuse is very commonly found in PTSD sufferers because it is
the best
way to take them away from their nightmares for a short amount of time. Once
the drug
wears off, however, they are right back where they started from.

Dr. Matthew J. Friedman states on his website that it is generally agreed by
therapists working with trauma patients, that therapy can be divided into
three phases.

The first phase is to establish trust and safety. By acquiring these two
things, the therapist
earns the right to gain access (Friedman). The second phase is trauma–
focused therapy.

This is exploring the traumatic material in depth and bringing out the
recollections that
were previously avoided or numbed by the patient (Friedman). The third phase
is to help
the patient disconnect from the traumatic experience and reconnect with
family, friends,
and society (Friedman).

Some cases of PTSD are less complicated than others. In fact, it is actually
called
uncomplicated PTSD (Friedman). This mild type of PTSD can be treated by
group,
psychodynamic, cognitive–behavioral, pharmacological, or combination
approaches
(Friedman). It is very similar to the treatments of the more severe cases,
but the only
difference is that it takes less time to bring out the insecurities of the
sufferer. It seems
that the group therapy is most helpful in these situations because the
patients feel
comfortable and excited about talking to others that are going through the
same thing that
they are (Friedman). They are able to share their stories and they do not
feel quite as
alone.

Another very helpful type of therapy for PTSD is psychodynamic psychotherapy
(Friedman). This focuses on the traumatic event itself. The patient gains a
greater sense
of strength and defense by retelling his/her story to a compassionate, non-
judgmental,
calm therapist (Friedman). The therapist continually helps the patient
discover situations
of their present life that helps to set off traumatic memories (Friedman).

There is only so much that a therapist can do to help out PTSD patients.

Usually
with time and patience, the suffer is able to come around and begin to live a
normal life.

PTSD weighs very heavily on a persons mind and heart. It takes much
strength and
courage to overcome such memories and feelings of guilt. With proper
treatment and
time, however, the patient is able to decipher between the past, present.

They also realize
that it is possible for them to move on with their lives and have a future.


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