About Treating Anxiety Disorders
About Treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
stress disorder (PTSD) is a common reaction to very stressful
or traumatic events, especially in situations whereby the
person felt helpless, powerless, and/or believed that he/she
might die. Many different kinds of events can lead to PTSD,
including being physically injured; having a close brush with
death or serious injury; being the victim of a crime; being
physically or sexually abused; witnessing someone's death;
or surviving a disaster, such as a fire, bombing, or earthquake.
I and Type II Trauma: A Vital Difference
Type I, or acute trauma: short-term, unexpected traumatic
2. Type II, or chronic trauma: a series of traumatic
events, or exposure to a prolonged traumatic event.
stress disorder is characterized by 3 main types of
problems or symptoms:
Reexperiencing the trauma: can include recurrent and
intrusive memories, nightmares, and flashbacks.
Hyperarousal Symptoms: such as sleep difficulties,
irritability, muscle tension, hypervigilance, anger outbursts,
Avoidance: may include not wanting to talk about the
traumatic event and keeping away from people, thoughts, feelings,
things, or places that trigger memories of the trauma. Traumatized
individuals also may dissociate or "split off" from
their sense of self, resulting in lack of integration of thoughts,
feelings and experiences into the stream of consciousness.
number of features are commonly associated with posttraumatic
stress disorder, including intense feelings of guilt, shame,
disgust and/or despair; excessive anger and hostility; marital/couple
distress; impaired interpersonal relationships; poor work
performance; impaired affect regulation; impulsive and self-destructive
behavior; and somatic complaints, such as headaches, joint
pain, colitis and respiratory problems.
the core symptoms of PTSD, there seem to be enduring changes
in people's personalities after chronic (Type II) trauma.
These include lasting changes in the person's sense of identity
and interpersonal relationships, and the sense of life's meaning.
people begin to have symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder
shortly after the traumatic event, while other people do not
start to have symptoms until months, or even many years, after
the event. Many people's symptoms diminish within 3 months;
for others, the symptoms can last for years.
A recent research study (Br J Psychiatry 2005) showed that
people whose worst event was a life event such as marital
discord, chronic illness, or unemployment had more PTSD symptoms,
on average, than people whose worst life event was typically
traumatic, such as an accident or disaster. The findings suggest
that common stressors such as chronic illness and serious
problems with work and relationships that pose a threat to
life in a more symbolic manner can also lead to PTSD.