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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Reliving And Still Feeling The Fear

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Everyday millions of people in the United States alone deal with anxiety disorders that complicate and impair their life. No defiant numbers are available but it is thought to be in the five to seven million range. The lack of numbers is due mainly to people not realizing that there is something wrong with them, often putting off their disorder as over acting or excessive worrying. Another reason that we do not know the exact amount is due to the social stigma of having a mental condition, and how society often looks down upon those that are not as "strong" as the social norms. Some of the stigma is gone in today's society, yet people still feel they must hide any imperfection in themselves from the world. However, there is an exception, there are people who feel they get the attention that they crave by being "sick" and often claim many diseases.

Anxiety disorders are broken down into five subcategories and many smaller categories. The five main subcategories are panic disorder, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and post- traumatic stress disorder. Panic disorder, which are episodes of intense fear along with distressing psychological and physical symptoms. Phobias are fears of certain social situations, or specific things such as flying and spiders. Obsessive-Compulsive disorder is a ritual based disorder in which the sufferer uses the ritualistic behaviors to push away disturbing thoughts in their heads. They believe if they stop the rituals the thoughts would overwhelm them or something bad will happen to them or someone they love, some even believe the world will end if they stop this behavior. Generalized Anxiety disorder is characterized by a constant feeling of nervousness or unease. Finally, Post-Traumatic Stress disorder, which is a condition that develops after a terrifying experience, such as near death or rape. Common in these sufferers and apparent in a significant amount of patients treated for post- traumatic disorder is depression, anxiety along with flashbacks of the traumatic event and nightmares that plague their sleep. The main focus of this paper is a more in-depth look at post- traumatic stress disorder who it effects, why and how to treat and diagnose people suffering from post- traumatic stress disorder.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is the development of symptoms after an emotionally traumatic event. It is easy to determine why a person would suffer from stress after a traumatic event but often people believe that people suffering from this disorder are being overly dramatic. The main reason is that trauma happens and the person's psychological system can not handle the event in the usual ways that most handle trauma, so their mind reacts in an adverse way.

The symptoms of post- traumatic stress often occur right after the even and with in a short time afterwards. Although this disorder can effect anyone regardless of age, it shows differently in younger children than in adults. Children may become mute refusing to talk or refuse to talk about what has happened to them. Though the child is being silent, he or she is still remembering what has happened to them. The younger the child the less likely they are to know that what they are going through is reliving the past, they believe that what has happened is happening again to them. Often they believe they have monsters in the closet or will reenact the event. One of the weirdest occurrences in children is their change in the way they see the future. Often becoming, in their own thoughts, clairvoyant or thinking themselves able to see future events. Believing they can see the future, though they are not seeing a future marriage, children, or career they see tragic events that are yet to come. Some children seem just to be having more physical illness symptoms, which makes it harder for their parents to see anything emotionally wrong with their children. Common bonds in all children suffering from post- traumatic stress are, disinterest in activities that once held the child's attention and heightened arousal (easily excitable).

There is no evidence that this disorder is prevalent in one sex over the other. Nor is there a number count on the amount of people suffering from post- traumatic stress disorder. The lack of people thinking that they have a disorder after a tragic event that put it down to regular stress or grief keeps the ability to get a number amount of sufferers impossible to achieve. The victims or sufferers are from different social-economic backgrounds with varying ranges in education. There is no set person that will get this disorder. Anyone from any background from royalty to poverty are eligible and able to develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

The on-set of this disorder is a traumatic event, though there is no set event that causes this to be worse or more apt to happen in a patient. However, a few events that most patients have experienced are more likely to cause them to develop post- traumatic stress disorder. Trauma for this even can happen alone or within a group of people. There is no set amount of people present at the event that will either encourage or discourage post- traumatic stress from developing. The development comes from a lack of coping skills within the human psyche. Since each person has a different point in which they can cope with certain situations, each person will come out of an event with some different perspective and way of coping. Some of the events that are most likely to cause the development of post- traumatic stress are, rape or assault, war and military combat, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, car accidents and near death experiences. Though these causes are not the sole stimuli to development of post-traumatic stress disorder they are the most likely stressors.

The traumatic event that sets off the development of post- traumatic stress disorder are relived in variety of ways within the sufferer. From memory flashbacks and disturbing nightmares, the sufferers' mind completely invaded by the traumatic event. In some sever cases of post- traumatic stress disorder the sufferer deals with dissociative states, where they do not know where they are and in their mind they are in the event which triggered their disorder. Yet, the most common characteristic is heightened arousal in the sufferer, which can stimulate the flashbacks even more and make them worse then a flashback than a person without post-traumatic stress disorder would have.

Though trauma is what begins the development of post- traumatic stress disorder, there is evidence pointing to previous psychological conditions in some cases. However, not all of the sufferers have to have a predisposed psychological disorder to develop post- traumatic stress disorder. Anyone of any mental capacity



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