You are on page 1of 2

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What is PTSD? PTSD is an emotional illness that is classified as an anxiety disorder by the DSM IV R (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV Revised). PTSD usually develops as a result of a terribly frightening, lifethreatening, or otherwise highly unsafe experience such as war or another powerful emotional event. People who suffer from PTSD re-experience the traumatic event in some way; they tend to avoid places, people, or other things that remind them of the event. They are also exquisitely sensitive to normal life experiences (hyperarousal). PTSD has been recognized as a formal diagnosis since 1980. However, the symptoms of PTSD have links with other labels such as "battle fatigue" and "shell shock". In the past year alone the number of diagnosed cases in the military jumped 50% and thats just diagnosed cases. Studies estimate that 1 in every 5 military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan has PTSD. 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives - 223.4 million people. Up to 20% of these people (1 in 5) go on to develop PTSD. Overall numbers suggest that a staggering 31.3 million people have struggled with PTSD.

What are the symptoms? After many years of research, 17 PTSD symptoms have been identified. These symptoms develop following the experience of a traumatic event and are divided into three separate categories. 1. Re-experiencing symptoms Frequently having upsetting thoughts or memories about a traumatic event. Having recurrent nightmares. Acting or feeling as though the traumatic event were happening again, sometimes called a "flashback." Having strong feelings of distress when reminded of the traumatic event. Being physically responsive, such as experiencing a surge in your heart rate or sweating, to reminders of the traumatic event.

2. Avoidance symptoms Making an effort to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations about the traumatic event. Making an effort to avoid places or people that remind you of the traumatic event. Having a difficult time remembering important parts of the traumatic event. A loss of interest in important, once positive, activities. Feeling distant from others. Experiencing difficulties having positive feelings, such as happiness or love. Feeling as though your life may be cut short.

3. Hyperarousal symptoms Having a difficult time falling or staying asleep. Feeling more irritable or having outbursts of anger. Having difficulty concentrating. Feeling constantly "on guard" or like danger is lurking around every corner. Being "jumpy" or easily startled. To be diagnosed with PTSD, a person does not need to have all of these symptoms. However, a person with PTSD usually has at least some of the symptoms from each category.

What causes PTSD? PTSD is caused by experiencing any trauma, defined as an event that is lifethreatening or that severely compromises the physical or emotional well-being of an individual or causes intense fear. Such events can be for example: seeing or being victim of violence, death or serious illness of someone very close to you, war, car accidents, natural disasters (hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, etc.), robbery, shooting, seeing somebody dying in front of your eyes, etc. People can also be diagnosed with PTSD in reaction to events that may not qualify as traumatic but can be devastating life events such as divorce or unemployment. Briefly explain how memory and emotion relate to PTSD. Memory and emotion are closely related to PTSD because first of all, PTSD is caused by experiencing a strongly emotional traumatic event and second of all, memory is the one that is responsible for bringing back the emotional event to the mind of person suffering from PTSD. Therefore, we can see that memory, emotion, and PTSD are all very closely related to each other.