The Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome refers to a severe complication that occurs due to immense anxiety. Such kind of an anxiety occurs after a previous series of psychological distress or trauma. Some of the possible causes of this kind of trauma include threats posed to one’s life. In addition, these threats may also occur to the one’s close relative, such as a child or a parent. These threats may happen in one’s life and eventually pose a threat to or even destroy one’s sexual, psychological or physical integrity. The individuals that get affected by the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome possess the inability to deal with the immense emotional distress. Thus, such victims bare the risk of contracting this disorder to its higher levels.
The disorder tends to cause an immense dysfunction in one’s occupational, cultural or even social life. Furthermore, this disorder may occur a long period after a certain traumatic incident takes place. There are three main forms of the PTSS: the acute form, the chronic form and, finally, the delayed-onset (Shiromani, 2009).
The Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome has some very distinctive symptoms as compared to other types of disorders. A victim of this syndrome tends to portray high levels of hypersensitivity towards future scary or distressful situations. For instance, persons that went through frightening incident of assault tend to carry on with the initial feelings got from that situation. This means that the victim possesses the inability to cope with the former traumatic episode. Scientifically, this situation occurs due to an increased level of the hormone, corticotrophin, and lower cortisol levels, while there is an increased negative feedback reduction of HPA axis by dexamethasone.
The victims also experience a lower secretion of cortisol and an increased secretion of catecholamine in urine. In addition, the levels of brain catecholamine tend to shoot. For instance, after the long wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina, most Swedish soldiers with the lower levels of cortisol bore a larger risk of contracting the PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). These symptoms get displayed due to the traumatic incidents witnessed during the period of war. These incidents may include numerous killings and deaths or even accidents that led to a physical loss. Some soldiers may lose different parts of their bodies during the various wars. Others may lose close friends in the process. In some cases, the violence witnessed may recur in one’s memory. Therefore, for the soldiers with the low cortisol levels the syndrome may be most evident (Rubin, 2010).
Cases of a stronger distress are experienced by the victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome after a traumatizing incident. Low levels of serotonin make the victims to display a number of distinctive symptoms. The victims are getting impulsive and very aggressive. In most cases, they portray high levels of irritability and may even attempt to commit a suicide. Other clear symptoms that are shown by victims of this syndrome include apathy, impaired attention, anhedonia and motor effects. In addition, they tend to express agitation, psychosis and restlessness.
In most severe cases of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder a victim may get frequent nightmares that reflect the former distressful situation they went through. A series of flashbacks experienced by the victim also represents one of the main symptoms of this syndrome. Some victims have difficulties in focusing. Furthermore, they fail to notice that the former traumatic encounters are not related in any way to their present surrounding. For instance, a victim that suffers trauma from a former devastating road accident has trouble in certain activities like crossing the road. The mere screeching of a vehicle may also frighten them. Therefore, such victims rarely reside near main roads (Ford, 2009).
Certain groups of people have a higher risk of getting the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Traumatic incidents affect younger people, especially children more. The secretion of the cortisol hormone in children occurs slower than in adults. To this effect, children easily get shaken by the stressful situations that may recur in their minds. Children get stressed easier since their brains are less capable of dealing with the immense stress conditions. In addition, their inability to fight these fears may occur due to a higher hyperactive and hypersensitive response. For example, a child may face threats from an older student at school. This may occur as sexual threats or beatings from a mob or the older person. The child succumbs to these assaults due to the immense fear that he or she experiences. Eventually, even after the seizure of such assaults, such a victim carries on with these fears, since he or she is unable to cope with them. Such children show fears in mingling with the opposite sex in case the trauma occurred due to the sexual assault by a representative of the opposite sex. They may also get frequent nightmares or fear being left alone even in the safe places.
Gender may not really be a determining factor, although female victims tend to bare the higher risk of getting the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome than the male ones. Since girls and women comprise a weaker sex, most distressful situations tend to befall them. For instance, most victims of sexual assaults tend to be women. Sexual assault may occur in a marital setting or the victim may get attacked by a stranger. Physical beatings, especially in the family, also lead to this syndrome. Therefore, the female victims develop an immense fear of either walking alone or staying in a company of a particular group of people. They also experience frequent nightmares. Most of the male victims of severe traumatic situations tend to respond quicker and, equally, adjust to such situations (Beckner, 2009).
Parents, who initially went through a series of traumatic situations, may easily pass on the trauma to their children. Such parents may expose their children to the violent scenes that eventually corrupt the minds of these children. In case such children lack an adequate attention in the process of treatment, they may display the symptoms of the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome in their adulthood. The social class and ethnicity of an individual may also determine the level of risk they are in to get the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome occurs due to a number of causes. These causes are grouped as biological, social or psychological ones. According to various researches this syndrome mainly occurs because of the hereditary reasons. A high secretion of the cortisol and increased levels of corticotrophin-releasing hormone represent another biological cause of this disorder. In addition, individuals with a smaller hippocampus tend to bare higher risks of contracting this syndrome. Certain cases of the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome occur in individuals, who often panic and portray high rates of anxiety. Victims, carrying the Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNPs), who experience a series of traumatic situations in their childhood, become more vulnerable to this syndrome in their adulthood. In addition, most mental disorders in children are associated with the polymorphism in FKBP5 (rRauch, 2012).
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Another main cause of the syndrome is overconsumption of nicotine, alcohol and drugs. An overuse of alcohol coincides with the FKPB5 polymorphisms. This, coupled with the severity of childhood trauma, leads to an increased vulnerability to the PTSD in the society. Persons that receive very little social support may later display signs of this syndrome. In time of the financial crisis, a person especially requires support from family and friends. Furthermore, in the severe cases of trauma, a person needs psychological help. One may get the syndrome when these forms of support lack. Children, who experience severe incidents of abuse, either the sexually ones or through violence, tend to show this syndrome in adulthood. Moreover, most of the people residing in war zones experience the immense impacts from violence that occurs during the military actions. In war-zones residents lose their beloved ones and experience mass destruction of their homes and businesses. Others become victims of rape and unwanted pregnancies. These circumstances get carried forward by the victims and later lead to the development of the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
A person may witness a traumatizing incident happening to someone else; for example, a murder scene or someone being sexually assaulted. A child may witness his or her parents getting involved in physical violence. All these early childhood traumatic clashes eventually lead to the development of the PTSD in adulthood.
A child that learned how to cope with severe traumatic situations possesses a higher possibility of developing this syndrome. On the other hand, a child that received sufficient support and experienced fewer cases of trauma possesses a lower vulnerability to this syndrome. Certain traumatic experiences occur for a longer period than others do. Thus, a traumatic situation experienced for longer duration poses a greater risk of getting this syndrome. In addition, PTSS occurs easier in cases of interpersonal distress than in intrapersonal distresses. A child may experience severe punishment or extreme cases of poverty. Current encounters in one’s life may also develop some severe stress. All these cases pose high risks of getting the PTSD.
Finally, prisoners of war tend to fall victims of PTSD due to the ruthless forms of punishments they face in prisons. In advanced cases of this kind of a traumatic encounter, a prisoner may develop mental illness that leads to seclusion from other prisoners.
Therefore, it is evident that the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome is mainly genetic. Secondly, in the most cases it originates from the traumatic encounters during childhood. The severity and duration of these traumatic situations affect the rate at which the victims get this syndrome.
The Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome bares certain relationships with other disorders like the Acute Stress Disorder. One form of their relationship is that these disorders develop because of an immense anxiety witnessed after the occurrence of a severe traumatic event. Moreover, both disorders evolve due to a series of psychological, emotional or social distresses. Another relationship is that they may originate from the traumatic experiences faced by a child. Although the symptoms of the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome reveal themselves after a longer period, they are still similar to the ones of other disorders.
All these disorders may get displayed after a series of any kind of severe traumatic events. Such traumatic circumstances include torture, criminal violence, and exposure to certain distressful situations and even accidents.
A number of victims have unsuccessfully managed to cure this syndrome completely. Furthermore, most victims of the syndrome ended up carrying the syndrome for the entire lifetime. Such cases occur when the syndrome gets transmitted from a parent to the child. Most parents undertaking treatment for this disorder tend to expose their children to the syndrome. In their efforts to heal, these parents unconsciously transfer the distress to their children through violent scenes shown in the media. Such kind of traumatic events gets inculcated in the child’s mind. The child develops certain fears in his or her life. Future attempts to cure such a case may be impossible; thus, making the person to retain this condition for a lifetime.
According to various researches most of the cases of this syndrome arise from distress experienced in wars. For instance, most victims of the Vietnam wars contracted PTSS. A research carried out by the Vietnam Head Injury Study showed that a damaged prefrontal cortex acts as a protective tool against the PTSD. Furthermore, the same study showed that a good number of combat veterans of the Vietnam War, who possessed the syndrome, had a relatively reduced volume of their hippocampus. When a person re-experiences a certain kind of a traumatic event, the syndrome may become evident. In case of going through the traumatic situation again, the victim experiences frequent nightmares or even flashbacks. In addition, any kind of psychological or physiological situation that reminds the victim of the former traumatic situation may lead to the development of the syndrome.
The results of the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome are always severe. For instance, a victim tends to evade discussions that may pertain to the previous source of trauma. Furthermore, the victims tend to avoid people, who cause them to remember the stressful encounter. In addition, they may also avoid visiting certain places that would bring back the flashbacks and psychological trauma. These people also experience an immense inability to participate in the normal activities of life. Their capacity of having certain feelings is also reduced. For instance, a person, who witnessed severe cases of violence in his or her family during childhood, may possess no pity for a similar case in the adulthood. This occurs due to the severity and persistence of the traumatic incidents. In addition, the victims may display an impaired participation in the normal functions of life. Such situations also tend to reduce a person’s self-esteem and self-drive, since they always feel displaced. Finally, it largely affects the occupation and the social life of a person.
However, the various measures of detecting and screening the syndrome have been invented. Currently, the frequency and severity of this syndrome can be analyzed using the Trauma Screening Questionnaire. Another fundamental tool includes the PTSD Symptom Scale. This tool helps to detect the existence of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Thus, it helps in on time detection and treatment of the syndrome during the early stages of its development.
There are different ways of dealing with the prevention and treatment of the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Certain preventive measures include the stepped collaborative care and psychological treatment. Others include psychological debriefing and risk targeted interventions. All these measures work on prevention and treatment prior to the traumatic events.
Psychotherapeutic interventions also take place in cases of the traumatic encounters. Extensive counseling to the affected persons helps to reduce the severity of the trauma. Furthermore, sensitization through educative programs provides adequate information concerning the detection and prevention of this syndrome. Therapists also carry out this activity by studying the eye movements’ desensitization and processing. They also train people on the ways of controlling stress and various cognitive therapies.
Individuals suffering from the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome undertake various kinds of medication. A number of medications prescribed for the traumatized patients prove to reduce the syndrome extensively. However, researches show that no particular medication leads to the complete elimination of the syndrome. Most of the positive signs of the syndrome, such as increased arousal, tend to respond better to medication as compared to the negative ones. Hydrocortisone refers to one form of medication given to a victim a short while after a traumatic event. Propranolol is another drug administered to the victims at about six hours after the traumatic incident took place. This type of medication helps the victim to forget the level of trauma he or she has just experienced. Furthermore, it reduces cases of nightmares and frightening flashbacks that are related to the traumatic event. Other forms of medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like citalopram and fluvoxamine, among others. Alpha-adrenergic antagonists like prazosin reduced cases of nightmares especially among the combat soldiers. Antipsychotics also help in retention of good moods and reduce cases of aggression among victims. Beta-blockers like propranolol, and antidepressants like nefazodone (serzone), reduce lack of sleep, sexual dysfunction and anxiety. These, among others, include the various kinds of medication given to the victims of this syndrome.
However, medication may fail in case, where the victim possesses a high dependence on alcohol or other substances. An overdose of the prescribed medication may also lead to a failure in treatment processes. Moreover, under such circumstances, the victim’s condition may worsen.
In summary, the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome occurs after a serious traumatic encounter. Victims of this disorder portray certain distinct characteristics. It is crucial that the symptoms of this syndrome get detected at the early stages. Furthermore, parents are advised not to expose their children to the violent scenes in the media, as this occurs to be one of the main causes of a psychological trauma to children. Such kids carry on with the trauma until the adulthood. This eventually develops into the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
The victims of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder should avoid the consumption of alcohol or other substances of this kind. This helps in hastening the processes of treatment and recovery. Early detection of this syndrome is vital, since the treatment measures can be put into practice earlier.
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