Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD; what is it, what are the symptoms, how is it diagnosed, can it be treated, what affects does it have on the family? Growing up in a household with both parents suffering from PTSD; these are some of the questions I asked myself on weekly bases. Now that I’m married to a military man I find myself asking some of the same questions after each deployment. I wonder if he is going to come back the man I married or come back an unrecognizable void. I have done extensive research on the disorder to try to answer some of the questions that plagued me growing up, and by sharing with you what I have found, the information may give someone else a little more insight of what the disorder really is.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder? “Post-traumatic stress disorder is a DSM-IV psychiatric disorder characterized by an acute emotional response to a traumatic event or situation involving severe environmental stress….” ( Mosby’s,2002) PTSD stems from events that you yourself experience, like abuse, combat, or a serious accident, but can also stem from a witnessed threat of harm or death to another, like 9-11-01. After such events happen you may feel scared, angry, or confused, which is perfectly normal but if those feelings don’t subside and start to get worse, there’s a good chance that you have developed PTSD, and need seek psychiatric help.
What are the symptoms of PTSD? There a many symptoms to PTSD so they were are put into categories. Some say there are three categories in which PTSD can be grouped and others say there are four categories. They all agree on these three groups so I’m going to give you those.
The First group is called re-experiencing; the symptoms within this group are: frequent memories of the event, nightmares, flashbacks, stress when reminded of the event, and a physical response to the reminders of the event.
The second group is called avoidance symptoms; the symptoms within this group are: To avoid thoughts conversations or feelings about what happened, avoid people or places that are a reminder of what happened, can’t remember parts of what happened, loss of interest in activities, feeling distant, having a hard time feeling positive, and feeling like your life is cut short.
The third group is called hyper-arousal symptoms; the symptoms in this group are: having trouble sleeping, irritability and angry outburst, trouble concentrating, on guard, and being jumpy.
To be diagnosed with PTSD the person doesn’t have to have all the symptoms but must have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, and the event had to have detrimentally affected the person emotional state. Then the person must have at least one of the re-experiencing symptoms, three of the avoidance symptoms, and at least two of the hyper-arousal symptoms, to be diagnosed. But the diagnosis of PTSD doesn’t rest solely on the symptoms themselves, there other factors that have to be taken into consideration as...