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Ptsd In Trauma Victims And Survivors

1781 words - 8 pages

Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” (Eileen) While this is sometimes the case, certain tragedies are simply too overwhelming for the body and mind to recover from. Instead of making one stronger, some things leave the human body weakened and drained both emotionally and physically. When faced with tremendous amounts of stress, some people have mental or emotional breakdowns, resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder. Exposure to trauma at an early age can have many unruly effects on one’s physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD, is a disorder that can occur after experiencing ...view middle of the document...

Hyper-vigilance simply involves a person being alert or on edge at all times. (Thomas 18-21) PTSD can be caused by many different things but some of the common causes are severe accidents, physical mental and physiological abuse, rape, assault, kidnapping or natural disasters. Three to ten million children witness family violence each year. Around 40% to 60% of those cases involve child physical abuse. Studies show that about 15% - 43% of girls and 14%- 43% of boys go through at least one trauma. Of those children who have had a trauma, 3% to 15% of girls and 1% to 6% of boys develop PTSD. Rates of PTSD are higher for certain types of trauma survivors. The National Center for PTSD said that about 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women will experience PTSD in their lifetime. That percentage will gradually rise over the next decade because of increased exposure to the growing turmoil in the world.
The impact of trauma in early childhood is particularly difficult to assess because young children have limited ability to describe their symptoms verbally. For many children, the trauma is a gut-wrenching and terrifying place that forever changes their outlook on life. Studies report high levels of internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Similar symptoms arose among the soldiers in WW1. Dr. Jacob Mendez Da Costa, a physician during the Civil War, ran studies on many wounded Union soldiers. He discovered that they had rapid heart rates and high blood pressure combined with severe exhaustion and the ability to be easily startled. Though PTSD was yet a known disorder, it was clear that the men's symptoms were caused because of the disturbing things they had seen and experienced in battle. Physicians began calling it “shell shock” or “combat fatigue.” Charles Myers, a psychologist , wrote that shell shock occurs “where the tolerable or controllable limits of horror, fear, and anxiety are overstepped.” Many of the soldiers were considered to be crazy. They were evacuated, hospitalized, and often treated with electric shock treatments. Men who wandered away from the front on their own were branded deserters and set before a firing squad.
Many veterans suffered after the Vietnam War. Even though so many soldiers had suffered for over a century, the medical community still had not recognized their symptoms as a defined and treatable disease. There was no medical name for the set of symptoms that plagued so many veterans, and no organization to help them. After seeing so many gruesome and depressing sights, it was as if many of the veteran’s thoughts and entire lives were gradually consumed and forever altered. Some acted out using drugs and alcohol while others took more drastic measures like suicide.
Today soldiers, veterans and children have a slight upper hand now that post-traumatic stress disorder is finally being acknowledged. While it is not as common, some soldiers still return home from the war zone suffering from PTSD. There have been...

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