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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

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Introduction

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental related turmoil that arises as a result of exposure to a horrific activity. This condition can occur after personally experiencing the event or when a close relative of a friend was involved in it. Death of a loved one, natural disasters, sexual assault and accidents or battles are some of the examples that can lead to traumatic conditions. Research indicates that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs within a period of six months after the distressing activity. For some people it may start immediately while for others it takes some period of time before symptoms appear (Craig, 2008). However, not all activities are listed under clinical standards as traumatic; they depend on the amount of shock and an individual’s ability to resist.

Recent scientific studies show that traumatic experience can cause a temporary to permanent damage to a human brain. For instance, recurring experiences of the horrifying events may put an individual’s brain in a state where they feel the activities taking place on a continuous process. Instead of developing a healing pattern, the individual remains static at the same condition, because the brain is set to expect more of the events (Simpson & Simpson, 2002). Such scenarios occur because a human brain is programmed in such a way that they respond to shock in a defensive manner. Women develop  a biological mechanism when faced with a sex assault where they fight for themselves. However, the aftermath of the mechanism can pose lasting problems to an individual. Nonetheless, when exposed to shock and terror mostly, human bodies  function worse. Therefore, memory, as well as  emotional and critical thinking abilities are lost. The effects may be very adverse and hard to contain. Treatment therapies may be provided, although a significant amount of time will be spent for healing.

Signs and Symptoms

 Several signs and symptoms can be displayed by an individual suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, not all people will possess the same signs. This is because human brains are not programmed in the same manner; some people can adjust  to shock immediately while others will respond in a terrifying way (Craig, 2008). Regular flashbacks of an incident are a clear sign that someone is traumatized by the activity. If an individual was involved in a plane crash, they may keep remembering how the instance started and what followed next. This kind of scenario is disturbing. Some people may internalize the flash back; they even demonstrate how they struggled to rescue themselves without their knowledge. Nightmares are also possible signs.

Some people find themselves spending time alone in order to relive the events of a horrific situation they were part of. Most of these people avoid company and often maintain silence. An individual who was raped may try to recall the incident; some focus on how they would have defended themselves. Such instances subject a victim to self blame, because they think they should have done better (Rosen, 2004). Considering that a rape case may haunt a person for life, some people focus on what the society will regard them and the ability to be overlooked. It is advisable for  individuals to involve themselves in activities they are interested in so that they could divert their attention.

To continue, hyper vigilance is a clear indication that an individual is traumatized; as well as a lack of rest and being anxious all the time (Rosen, 2004). Some people displaying such signs do not sleep at night. Further, they get  irritated easily and remain more cautious even when there is no probability of facing a problem. Moreover, stress, depression and frequent headaches are additional signs and symptoms. Too much indulgence in alcohol has been a perceived solution by many people under trauma. Most of them think that when they are drunk they forget their life experience. Unfortunately, they feel more pain when they come back to their senses; they start regretting their actions subjecting them to more traumatic conditions (Craig, 2008). Drug abuse is an option for some people, especially the youths. Young people who lose their parents in accidents or due to illnesses  may view themselves as helpless and not worthy in the society. They end up inhaling cocaine and smoking weed, which tampers their normal reasoning (Simpson & Simpson, 2002). Because they do not want to face the reality, they opt to live an unexplainable life. Nevertheless, some people faced with terror events may start taking unnecessary painkillers and sleep inducing drugs. Such behaviors call for immediate action. Diarrhea and muscle pains are some of the symptoms; not all people respond in this manner.

Traumatic experiences are terrifying because human beings have set their minds in a state that they are always secure. No one ever wants to imagine being involved in a plane crash or being raped. These events are an indication that life is short and human beings are susceptible to death. Traumatic experiences act as a learning process to many people, especially those who emerge out of it. Traumatic conditions enable an individual to understand an occurrence better; some people go as far as research on possible causes and prevention of an event (Simpson & Simpson, 2002). However, the event may make others to dislike certain things associated with what has happened, for instance, an individual who loses their spouse or child in train accidents may vow never to board a train. Again, traumatic conditions can worsen in the event of trying to recover, especially when more horrific activities are taking place (Rosen, 2004). If a relative was involved in an accident, the doctor may advice that their legs were amputated. An individual in such a case was coming to terms with the fact that he was involved in a car accident, and now they he is losing his legs, which is a permanent condition. Additionally, for anyone working in a manufacturing explosives industry where they handle heavy metals, impotence and infertility are the possible aftermath. Knowing that an individual can never have children is traumatizing. Further, those heavy metals may damage the same individual’s body functions and may even cause cancer.

Children are not spared in traumatic experiences; they are more affected because they are not strong enough to control themselves. Nightmares is  the possible sign and symptom. Most of them tend to see imaginary things while they are sleeping (Simpson & Simpson, 2002). Especially when they lose a parent of their sibling, while they are recalling their sweet moments together, they may end up seeing the real person in their dreams. Most kids may hate anything associated with a horrific activity they were involved in; a car accident may cause them to hate playing with toys, because it reminds them of the incident. Most kids also develop stomach problems and complain of severe headaches.

Treatment

Since Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is emotional, it calls for psychological and physical treatment measures in order to cure the condition. Psychotherapies are imperative while dealing with PTSD, because it is not easy to restore a human mind to its initial stage, but the only remedy is to adopt new measures of dealing with the situation at hand. Some physicians provide therapies to traumatized individuals by allowing them to recall what happened during the incident and what followed afterwards (Simpson & Simpson, 2002). This method of healing is applied so that a patient can have their memory back to avoid distractions through stress. The more time a victim is given to recall everything, the more they develop a sense of security, hence fear is eliminated. Such therapies take about ten weeks with the same specialist, each session of which lasts for approximately two hours. Sticking to routinely therapies enables fast healing. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is advisable when taking a patient through their experience (Craig, 2008). It enables a physician to establish whether the individual is changing for the better or  his condition becomes worse.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Processing is an essential approach that utilizes movements of the eye to enable the brain to process efficiently (Rosen, 2004). This technique enables the brain to work on the flashbacks, hence making some concrete ideas out of it. Group therapies are also vital, especially where the group members had been involved in a similar traumatic event. It is argued that a human being can easily open up to people who have been through a similar problem,  because they believe that such people will, understand them better and will offer a suitable remedy. Use of drug therapies is also mandatory while treating a traumatic event. Antidepressant drugs are used to help in reducing the intensity of the PTSD indications and the level of depression (Simpson & Simpson, 2002). Over the counter drugs are discouraged; appropriate prescription by a doctor is advised. Doctor’s advice is imperative so that the drugs given do not subject the patient to side effects. However, all medications have side effects. If the drugs prescribed do not work, it is mandatory that the patient sees a doctor immediately so that they can be prescribed other types of antidepressants. Moreover, body therapies are also significant, although they do not directly influence this state. Body massage helps to relax, hence stress is reduced.

Conclusion

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs to all people regardless of age and gender. However, a response to traumatic events varies depending on each individual. Self experiences are more intense than getting the information from a third party.  Depression, stress and a sense of fear and distress are possible results of  horrific events. Drug and alcohol abuse are the aftermath of terrifying events to many people, especially the youth with the perception that they want to forget the reality. Therapies provided by a qualified physician are advised. Drugs should only be prescribed by a medical doctor. Therefore, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can lead to permanent brain damage if immediate action is not taken. 

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