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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is becoming a more well known anxiety disorder. This article helps define Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and discusses what can cause PTSD a what treatment options are available for those suffering from PTSD.

What Kind of Disorder is PTSD?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision, also called DSM-IV-TR, is one of the coding systems used to categorize mental health disorders. In it’s category “Anxiety Disorders,” it includes:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (with or without agoraphobia)
  • Agoraphobia (without a history of panic disorder)
  • Any specific phobia
  • Social phobia
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Acute stress disorder
  • Anxiety disorder (due to general medical conditions or not otherwise specified –NOS)

The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (also called ICD-10), groups Post-traumatic stress disorder in the category “Neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders,” in the subcategory “Reaction to severe stress, and adjustment disorders. ” Here, PTSD is joined by Acute Stress Reaction and Adjustment Disorder.

These two different classifications show somewhat different understandings of PTSD.

What Can Cause PTSD?

As it’s name suggests, PTSD comes as the aftermath of one or more traumatic events. The event may have been directly experienced or witnessed. The types of events that can lead to PTSD include large-scale events like war or terrorism, as well as events that happen to one individual, such as assault, rape, domestic abuse, or imprisonment. Not everyone who experiences or witnesses a traumatic event ends up with PTSD, and it is not currently know why some people have it and some people don’t.

What Are Symptoms of PTSD?

People with PTSD may relive the traumatic event, with memories, flashbacks, or nightmares. They may also respond to events that are similar in some respect to the trauma as if they were part of the trauma, even if the reminder is, in itself, innocent. An example would be a car backfiring bringing on strong memories of being under siege in a war zone.

In some people, PTSD takes another course, characterized by withdrawal and a numbing of feelings, as well as avoiding reminders of the event. The description of some of these symptoms sounds similar to a major depression.

A  third possibility is a person who feels survivor’s guilt or some other type of guilt about the event. This can manifest in a variety of ways.

Other issues that may coexist or be brought on by or in conjunction with PTSD include substance abuse, depression, or other medical conditions.

What Kind of Treatment Is Used for PTSD?

One type of PTSD treatment is called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR). It is intended to help people with PTSD process and integrate their memories. ‘Exposure’ therapy, which may include virtual reality software, is intended to help people reduce their symptoms by facing their fears.  Other types of therapy that are used include cognitive therapy.

Medications may help with a variety of issues including depression, anxiety and stress, insomnia or nightmares, etc.





Related Article: Emotional and Behavior Disorders - EBD >>

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