Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder precipitated by exposure to an even which involves actual or threatened death or serious injury, or threat to the persons integrity of self or others that causes intense fear, helplessness or horror (as cited-in Nutt Ballenger, 2003, p.65). PTSD can be divided into three classes, depending on the duration of  symptoms Acute (1-3 months), Chronic (more than 6 months) and Delayed (6 months after the trauma) (Nutt Ballenger, 2003,  p.65). Symptoms that can be observed in an individual who is suffering from PTSD may include the following insomnia or difficulty in sleeping, startled response, sudden anger outburst, inability to recall trauma, difficulty in concentrating, restricted range of emotions and hyper vigilance. However, appearance of symptoms vary from every individual depending on the traumatic event that occurred (Nutt Ballenger, 2003). Studies show that most individuals who naturally recover from PTSD are victims of nonsexual assault (Nutt Ballenger, 2003). Developmental factors in personal vulnerability may trigger PTSD. Individuals who have undergone early separation from parents, anxiety or depression prior the traumatic event that have caused their stress and have a family history of anxiety or depression have bigger chances in having PTSD after a traumatic experience (Nutt  Ballenger, 2003).

The study of PTSD started during World War II. The war provided the opportunity to study and document the various reactions and effects of intense trauma to soldiers and camp inmates (Scaer, 2007, p.64). The study also investigated  the subjects capacity to tolerate stress in the war period.  The Vietnam War ignited the interest of researchers regarding the effects of traumatic stress. In 1980, Kardiner attempted to file the list of various symptoms that was observed and related to trauma into a syndrome, thus, the name Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was born. With this new accomplishment, traumatized young children and women that were ignored before, were finally given the attention they needed (Scaer, 2007).  Currently, there are still revisions in the definition of  PTSD because of the additional clinical features and clarifications regarding the associated symptoms. Discoveries were made possible due to the increasing number of individuals suffering from traumatic events that results to stress. As more researches were completed, the disorder covered different scopes in the mental health field of the human being.
Individuals suffering from PTSD are likely to undergo difficulties in social functioning. Emotional detachment and withdrawal from people and surroundings are observed in most cases. They feel and act indifferent to people they were close before. Aside from these symptoms, an individual may also experience interpersonal difficulties, such as avoidance of sexual contact, sudden mood swings or unresponsiveness to their loved ones.  A sudden loss of a loved one to an individual may also affect his or her balanced nature and start the PTSD cycle. Researchers found out that those who suffer from PTSD have higher possibility rates and risks of suicide (Nutt  Ballenger, 2003, p.78).

In every individual, coping is necessary when it comes to dealing with stress. The ability of a person to cope with stress reflects his or her mental health. A person with good coping skills will be able to identify and determine solutions for problems while a person with poor coping skills will not be able to do so. Thus his or her homeostasis will be disrupted, leading to PTSD.


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