Today there are many people who have experienced some type of assault or abuse and many people would not realize it. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is something I have had yet never been diagnosed. People connect Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, to war veterans, at least I did. However, people can suffer from it in other ways.
This disorder has personally affected me and still does. At a young age I had experienced more trauma and suffering than someone normally would for their entire life. I have been a victim of sexual abuse and other family struggles which I would not go in depth with. Nevertheless, specifically with my abuse, which occurred for what used to be half my life and now it is just a small part of it. For eight years I lived a life that was horrific yet seemed normal for me. It was not though. After going through therapy for a while before I chose to stop, I realized that after years had passed I had still felt the same. I was not often depressed but I had vivid memories and dreams that made me think I was living in that moment.
I would dream about the dark moments when father’s brother would do things to me while my parents were busy fighting. In those dreams I could not speak nor yell. It was very similar to how I felt during that moment- weak and unheard. Then I would wake up from that nightmare and remember it was all a dream. This would happen at random times yet sometimes in random moments I would see them again. I would also picture the exact moment when going to the police station and experience that process again on its own. Furthermore, writings about this disorder has helped understand what I went through and what other people in different situations go through similarly after something horrific has occurred.
I wanted this topic specifically rather than discuss about other topics such as compulsive disorder or childhood trauma. I want to go in depth and understand more about what happens to people like this; in addition to the factors that leads people to get PTSD.
Post-traumatic stress disorder has been defined by the American Psychological Association as an anxiety issue that develops in people after living traumatic events. People can get it from experiencing a natural disaster or accident. Those who suffer from PTSD can have flashback memories or nightmares that can be unavoidable that reminds them of the trauma they have suffered. Their daily life in interrupted and usually have anxiety feelings that disrupts their daily life. (www.apa.org).
Many psychologists have experimented in groups of people who have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder after being victims of war and kept in captivity. Solomon (2008) discovered that after 18 and 30 years of coming back from captivity many people were still experiencing symptoms of PTSD. For example, he examined two different groups of survivors’ anxiety levels and their avoidance. After all the results did conclude that there is an “increase in attachment insecurities anxiety, avoidance and an increase in PTSD symptoms decades after the captivity”. In addition, Solomon also found that these people also developed complex post traumatic stress disorders which affects their personalities in different ways. These survivors have experienced torture and terror as well as solitary confinement. Even though these survivors did had PTSD, they experienced more negative affects because of the situation they had overcame. They were deprived of their basic needs such as physical and emotional support. However, these groups of people differ from those that have witnessed a horrific car accident which was a single event unlike experiencing it for a period of time. Moreover, in another experiment of war veterans who self-reported their symptoms after being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan had similar results. (Smith, 2008). More than 40 percent of those that were deployed from 2001 to 2006 experienced of levels of PTSD. About one percent of the people did not report their combat exposures while everyone else did. Those that were either deployed or in the baselines still suffered from PTSD. There has been a large amount of people who come from war and experience PTSD. Unlike the other experiments who had a different experience both were traumatic and resulted in having symptoms of PTSD.
Nevertheless, PTSD can also be resulted in people who have experienced childhood trauma. Pratchett (2011) discusses how those who suffer from child abuse can have psychiatric illnesses like PTSD. Pratchett concluded that those who suffer single events will less likely experience post traumatic stress disorder even though there are still a few amounts that do. Those who do experience PTSD will have a greater chance of revictimization according to Pratchett. The impact of any type of child abuse will not likely be realized until adulthood if any. However, in when examining children who had experience natural disasters had found 87 percent of them to have PTSD. It is evident that depending on the situation or trauma a child experiences the result of getting PTSD can be different. The University of Tulsa (2017) found that there are many factors to why a person has PTSD. Those factors can very but the there are some that overlap. The study had about 167 U.S journalists in different media organizations to be at risk for PTSD by taking a closer look at environmental and personal factors when covering traumatic stories. This study’s “factors included exposure to traumatic stressors in their personal lives, work-related traumatic stressors, and general organizational stressors.' (University of Tulsa, 2017). The results provided significant support for the negative impact of organizational stressors and avoidant emotional coping on journalists covering trauma-related stories. There are people in the already get used to that type of climate, however this indicated how these individuals still had work related PTSD symptoms. Moreover, (Dowd, 2011) went more in depth in how psychological treatment has an effect on PTSD in children. There are many traumatic stressors that can affect a childlike go through a tragic event. However, there are people who different reactions to different events. In most when children got through situations like that, children experience more challenges. For example, as (Dowd, 2011) stated that the average rate for a person to have PTSD after sexual abuse during their childhood is about 32 percent. While there is 30 percent of children that go into the emergency room that actually experience some levels of PTSD.
PTSD is having very different aspects to it and there has been multiple findings in understanding this disorder on a larger scale. For instance, it has been discovered to be more common for women than men as stated by Sumner (2016). In this experiment it was concluded that women who had more symptoms of PTSD also had more hypertension than those who did not. Even though there were other risk factors accounted for like body mass index and lifestyles most results were consistent making this more reliant. “Exposure to trauma, including childhood abuse (Riley. 2010) and combat (Granado. 2009), has been associated with increased hypertension risk. PTSD, the sentinel trauma-related disorder, has been tied to hypertension across numerous, and cross-sectional, studies”. (Sumner, 2016). As stated before with the other issues that can lead to PTSD, it is also important to consider that specific genders are more prone to getting PTSD. In addition, another study was conducted by (Silove, 2017) where couples who had someone with high levels of trauma within the relationship to be evaluated to how they are in the relationship currently. This study had 677 couple answer survey questions and “measure[d] post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological distress, explosive anger, and grief. The women had more traumatic experiences than men. These same women had more symptoms of PTSD than men too. The more trauma an individual had the more explosive anger and grief that person had. The trauma had affected these individuals personally but also their relationships. This indicates how PTSD is once again resulted when experiencing traumatic events.
Lastly, there are many factors to why people get PTSD. The research done was vital to understanding this disorder since many people can be affected without them knowing. In situations where a person might react to it in a certain that can result in trauma which can eventually lead to PTSD no matter the time that has occurred.
American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Retrieved November 05, 2018, from https://www.apa.org/topics/ptsd/index.asp
Dowd, H., & McGuire, B. E. (2011). Psychological treatment of PTSD in children: An evidence-based review. The Irish Journal of Psychology, 32(1), 25-39. Retrieved from http://library.wlac.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1283244993?accountid=38212
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