Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder plagues the veterans and soldiers of America, however, it can also take hold of civilians lives. Post Traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war or combat, rape or other violent personal assault(What Is PTSD). Any traumatic event in a person’s life can play a role in the onset of PTSD. But in what way will PTSD really affect one’s life? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has various effects on a person’s life; these effects span the psychological, physical, and/or even societal aspect of a life.

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Most of the effects of PTSD are psychological. By itself, it is considered to be a mental illness. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, or the ADAA, psychologically three categories of effects exist: re-experiencing effects, arousal or reactivity, and avoidance effects. The re-experiencing effect is the effect that movies portray. A scene might show the main character tossing and turning in bed re-experiencing a traumatic event in his or her nightmare.

Whether it be a daydream, nightmare, or physical object; anything that reminds the person of the traumatic event can be a trigger (Symptoms of PTSD). The third type of effect is the arousal or reactivity effects. These are the difficulty sleeping or feeling jumpy type symptoms. The National Institute for Mental Health listed a fourth type of psychological effect, cognitive and mood symptoms which include: Survivors guilt or feelings of blame or guilt, losing interest in activities, and negative thoughts about themselves or the world (Post-Traumatic). An unfortunate part of PTSD is that the mental effects oftentimes have terrible physical tolls.

The physical effects of PTSD do not vary as much as the mental effects do. However, they can manifest in life-changing ways. Like any type of stress, the amount of emotional and mental strain takes a toll on a person. With that said PTSD tends to lead to substance abuse. Joseph Boscarino conducted tests on victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack.

In one of these tests, he discovered that alcohol abuse inflated among the adult victims (Boscarino et al. 515). Whether the substance is drugs or alcohol, the added negative physical effects do not combine well with traumatic experiences. Experiences such as terror attacks leave scarring memories that people will want to forget. But the reality is, no amount of alcohol or drugs will erase something as awful as that from one’s mind. Arieh Shalev and Sarah Freedman have authored scholarly journals regarding the connection between post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses.

One of these journals concluded, the results of this study show that exposure to terrorist attacks is followed by a higher incidence of PTSD and higher levels of PTSD symptoms, anxiety, and depression (Shalev and Freedman 190). A common manifestation of PTSD includes depression which carries its own set of mental and physical effects. Some of the most prevalent physical effects of depression are often lowered amounts of energy, either oversleeping or undersleeping, and decreased appetite; though these are effects of depression, people with PTSD also struggle with these symptoms due to the added depression (Depression Hotline). These physical effects often begin to affect the desire or eagerness to venture out into society.

What effects does PTSD have on being a part of society? The National Institute for Mental Health listed avoidance effects (Post-Traumatic). Avoidance is the desire to avoid or stay away from places, objects, or events that resurface the memories of a traumatic event (Post-Traumatic). If someone was in one of the Twin Towers when it was attacked and later developed PTSD, he or she might avoid airplanes and skyscrapers because these things bring the memories back. In an interview with psychologist Jeremiah Raymo he stated, one of the most prevalent effects seen in PTSD patients are the societal effects usually dealing with relationships (Raymo).

Patients might try to isolate themselves or go away mentally and emotionally to avoid re-experiencing the negative memories (Schiraldi 4). In an attempt to stay away from these memories they shut out loved ones, friends, and people that can help. These patients might even, essentially, contain himself or herself in house arrest so he or she does not have to exist in public eye. Dissociation is another effect that can transpire. Describes as the ability to separate one’s mental, emotional, or physical presence from society in an attempt to remain isolated (Schiraldi 4). Raymo said, Society has this negative stigma when they think about PTSD. He also said, People with PTSD view society as a minefield. They don’t want to be triggered, they want to maintain a sense of safety and that’s hard. So they do often have a hard time going out in public because they can’t control certain things.

Using the Twin Tower example, how hard would it be to maintain a sense of safety in another skyscraper for that person? Taking what Raymo said into account, would it not make sense that someone would not want to go out into a society where he or she may feel scared or threatened? The societal effects of PTSD can range from avoiding certain places or events to affecting relationships and pushing people away, to a complete dissociation from society.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder plays a role in the lives of not only the patient but also their loved ones. It can take hold of a life and create mental barriers, physical issues, and even destroy relationships. Raymo said in an interview, Society has this negative stigma about PTSD, but they are wrong. The effects and symptoms of PTSD vary case by case, but what remains the same is that any patient is just another person who needs to help. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder doesn’t have a known cure, but reducing these effects and helping people become members of society again is the goal (Raymo).

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (2019, Dec 04). Retrieved June 25, 2022 , from
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