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Lynn Martin

last login — 20/03/2012 @ 05:12PM

 

 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

09/03/2011 07:35PM

 

Post traumatic Stress Disordercan develop after a person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury.  This causes intense fear or helplessness. The traumatic event is then re-experienced, associated with avoidance of stimuli related to the trauma, and involves heightened arousal. Usually the symptoms develop shortly after the event, but may take years.  For the diagnosis to be made, symptoms must last for at least a month.

The prognosis for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is moderate to very good with therapy.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is easiest to treat when the traumatic event was acute, or occurred only one time (e.g., car accident).  Situations that involved chronic, or ongoing trauma (e.g., ongoing sexual abuse, war) are more of a challenge.

Approximately 7%-8% of people will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in their lifetime, and the prevalence in combat veterans and victims of raperanges from 10% to as high as 30%. Almost half of those who seek mental health services have been found to suffer from PTSD. When untreated, PTSD can have devastating and far reaching consequences. Relationships with family, spouses and society at large are disrupted.  Those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are at greater risk for cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana use. By contrast, people whose PTSD is treated have better success at overcoming substance-abuse problems.

Persons with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder benefit by learning how to manage their anger and anxiety.  This then has a positive effect on interpersonal relationships. The use of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction techniques, including deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can help people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder master their emotional and physical symptoms. The therapist might also use exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapy by having the person with PTSD recollect their traumatic experiences using images or verbal recall.

The quality of the relationship with the therapist is crucial for exposure therapy as the client needs to trust that the therapist will not go faster than they can tolerate. A number of different factors contribute to PTSD symptoms, including early childhood experiences and current relationships. People protect themselves from upsetting thoughts and feelings about traumatic events in different ways. Therapy may need to delve into the way past influences shape present perceptions and experiences.

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