PTSD Symptoms and Treatments

PTSD Symptoms and Treatments

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is one of the deepest injuries that

Vietnam War veterans received during their time of battle (Arpey). Unlike
many other

illnesses, PTSD cannot be measured by physical scientific fact (Arpey). It is
something

that can only be understood by a person who has experienced something as
traumatic as

the Vietnam War.

The definition for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder given by the Webster’s
New

World College Dictionary is, “a condition characterized by recurring and,
often, disabling

symptoms of anxiety, depression, etc., that later affects some persons who
have

experienced a traumatic event or situation, especially combat.”

PTSD was first named Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome after the war because

symptoms did not seem to appear for years, even decades (Arpey). After the
symptoms

actually did start showing up and making an impact on society, the government
started to

be concerned. They started doing extensive research on the syndrome and then
went

further to name it a disorder (Arpey).

PTSD can occur in anyone-- no matter what the age, as long as they have been

through a traumatic experience. Many common disasters that bring on PTSD are
rapes,

floods, abductions, airplane crashes, and hostage situations (Morrison 269).
Also,

children that have undergone sexual abuse are likely to suffer from it
(Morrison 269). It

seems, however, that survivors of combat are the most frequent victims
(Morrison 269).

It is more likely for a younger adult to acquire PTSD than for someone that
is

older(Morrison 269). This could be why such an apparent outbreak of PTSD
occurred

after the Vietnam War. After all, the average age of a soldier drafted to
Vietnam was

nineteen.

Some of the symptoms that occur with PTSD are: difficulty falling asleep

or staying asleep, irritability or outbursts of anger, difficulty
concentrating, hypervigilance,

and exaggerated startle response (Frances 428). The PTSD sufferer often goes
through

re--experiencing of the event or events that have traumatized he or she
(Frances 428). It

can occur in many different ways, although the person goes through much
avoidance and

self-- denial of the subject.

Many sufferers have extensive personal problems in their lives while dealing
with

PTSD. Right after the event, the person often experiences “psychic numbing”,
which is a

large disinterest to the outside world (Frances 425). Much of the time, the
person stops

participating in activities that they once enjoyed, and start to feel
detached from people

that they once felt strong emotions toward (Frances 425). They seem to have a
problem

with intimacy, affection, and sexuality (Frances 425). The problem is, like
everything else,

they do not care about it anymore. Often times, the individual can not
foresee themselves

having any kind of a future such as a marriage, children, or a career. They
even believe

that they will have a shortened life span (Frances 425).

Much of PTSD trauma is brought on by guilt. The feeling that, “I should
have

done something to save them”, or “It should have been me, not him”,
occur in the

sufferers (Frances 425). It is difficult for these people to deal with the
fact that they

survived and someone that they cared about had to die. This is one of the
main reasons

that PTSD sufferers have a problem getting too close to anyone while dealing
with all of

these emotions. They fear that they will be put in a similar situation that
would resemble

what happened to them in Vietnam. It is imperative for them to avoid these
situations and

thoughts at all costs. (Frances 425).

PTSD brings a lot of pain and suffering upon Vietnam veterans and their
families,

but the good news is that there is help for them. Therapists have studied
many PTSD

patients and found different helpful approaches to use (Friedman). Some of
the most

common therapeutic treatments are: Psychodynamic therapy,
cognitive--behavioral

therapy, pharmacotherapy, group, family, couples, and inpatient treatment,
and treatment

for patients dually diagnosed with PTSD and alcoholism/substance abuse
(Friedman).

Alcohol and drug abuse is very commonly found in PTSD sufferers because it is
the best

way to take them away from their nightmares for a short amount of time. Once
the drug

wears off, however, they are right back where they started from.

Dr. Matthew J. Friedman states on his website that it is generally agreed by

therapists working with trauma patients, that therapy can be divided into
three phases.

The first phase is to establish trust and safety. By acquiring these two
things, the therapist

earns the right to gain access (Friedman). The second phase is trauma--
focused therapy.

This is exploring the traumatic material in depth and bringing out the
recollections that

were previously avoided or numbed by the patient (Friedman). The third phase
is to help

the patient disconnect from the traumatic experience and reconnect with
family, friends,

and society (Friedman).

Some cases of PTSD are less complicated than others. In fact, it is actually
called

uncomplicated PTSD