Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

maftab92Starred Page By maftab92, 28th Jul 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Anxiety

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which great physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent, personal assaults, natural disasters, accidents, or military combat.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition characterized by intense fear, helplessness, or horror (or disorganized or agitated behavior in children) resulting from the exposure to extreme trauma. The characteristic symptoms include persistent re-experiencing of the traumatic event, persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, numbing of general responsiveness, and persistent symptoms of increased autonomic arousal. Diagnosis is only made when the full symptom picture is present for more than 1 month and the disturbance must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Individuals with this disorder may describe painful guilt feelings about surviving when others did not survive or about the things they had to do to survive. Avoidance patterns may interfere with interpersonal relationships and lead to marital conflict, divorce, or loss of job. Auditory hallucinations and paranoid ideation can be present in some severe and chronic cases.

This disorder often co-occurs with increased rates of Major Depressive Disorder, Substance Related Disorders, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia, Specific Phobia, and Bipolar Disorder. These disorders can precede, follow, or emerge concurrently with the onset of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may be associated with increased rates of somatic complaints and general medical conditions.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can occur at any age, including childhood. Symptoms usually begin within the first 3 months after the trauma, although there may be a delay of months, or even years, before symptoms appear. Frequently, the person first has an Acute Stress Disorder in the immediate aftermath of the trauma. The duration of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder varies, with complete recovery occurring within 3 months in approximately half of the cases, with many others having persisting symptoms for longer than 12 months after the trauma. In some cases, the course is characterized by waxing and waning of symptoms. Symptom reactivation may occur in response to reminders of the original trauma, life stressors, or new traumatic events. The severity, duration, and proximity of an individual’s exposure to the traumatic event are the most important factors affecting the likelihood of developing this disorder. This disorder can develop in individuals without any predisposing conditions, particularly if the stressor is especially extreme.

This disorder should not generally be diagnosed unless there is evidence that it arose within 6 months of a traumatic event of exceptional severity. A "probable" diagnosis might still be possible if the delay between the event and the onset was longer than 6 months, provided that the clinical manifestations are typical and no alternative identification of the disorder (e.g. as an anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder or depressive episode) is plausible. In addition to evidence of trauma, there must be a repetitive, intrusive recollection or re-enactment of the event in memories, daytime imagery, or dreams. Conspicuous emotional detachment, numbing of feeling and avoidance of stimuli that might arouse recollection of the trauma are often present but are not essential for the diagnosis. The autonomic disturbances, mood disorder, and behavioral abnormalities all contribute to the diagnosis but are not of prime importance.
Treatment consists of group therapy, individual and family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, play therapy, art therapy, anxiety management, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), NLP and relaxation techniques. If there is an evidence of alcohol or substance abuse problems then it should be the initial focus of treatment.


Anxiety, Health, Mind, Stress

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author avatar maftab92
I am a clinical psychologist from Pakistan. I am running my own clinic to help people overcome psychological problems.

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