February 2, 2013
Instructor: Renee Green
The world of abnormal psychology is filled with many different types of disorders, symptoms, and treatment options. Today, I will be working with Roger, a middle-aged accountant living in San Francisco, California who experienced a car wreck a few months ago. He has been experiencing shakiness, breathlessness, heat flashes, and nightmares. He has been trying to cope with the symptoms that he is experiencing through alcohol consumption and going jogging. Using the skills I have learned about abnormal psychology, I will be able to diagnose Roger and provide an explanation as to why he is suffering from the type of disorder that he is experiencing, as well as determine the most effective treatment options available.
Based on the information provided to me, I am diagnosing Roger with post-traumatic stress disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that is experienced by people who have been subjected to a traumatic, life-changing event. Although I am quite certain that this is the disorder that Roger is suffering from, I scheduled an appointment with him to get more details about the symptoms that he is experiencing. Me: Good morning, Roger, I wanted to call you in today to talk about the things that you are experiencing on a day-to-day basis so that I will learn more about yourself and the things that you are experiencing so that we can work together to come up with solutions that benefit you overcoming your experience. Roger: That sounds like a good plan, what would you like to know? Me: Well can you please begin with telling me what happened 2 months ago, so that I may hear it in your own words? Roger: Sure, about two months ago I was in a car accident where the other driver hit me head on. I wasn’t hurt, except for a few minor bruises, but my car was completely totaled. Since then, I try to avoid the area where I got into my accident. Me: Thank you for that information, Roger. Car accidents can be quite traumatizing and I’m sorry that you had to experience that misfortune. Roger: It’s okay, I’m just glad I got out of it alive. But the accident seems to stick with me no matter what I do, though. Me: Do you mind elaborating on that for me please, Roger?
Roger: Well, ever since the accident I notice that whenever I am around the streets or in an automobile of any kind, I begin to feel shaky and out of breath. Then everything begins to get really hot and sometimes it feels like I am having a heart attack, so I begin to panic. Me: That’s very interesting Roger, have you been to your primary care doctor to see if there is a physical issue that is causing those symptoms? Roger: Yes, ma’am. My doctor told me that I am healthy as a horse and recommended me to you. So here I am. *laughs nervously* Me: I am glad that you are here to give me the opportunity to help you, Roger. Are there any other symptoms that you have been experiencing since your accident? Roger: Um, I’ve been obsessed with safer vehicles and I’ve spent a lot of time looking for an extremely safe car and have taken a defensive driving class. Some days I am so afraid to drive that I have to call my friends to come get me, and I can’t seem to find a car that meets my safety standards. Me: I can completely understand why you feel that way, Roger. Safety should always be the number one priority when out on the road. So you feel this anxiety only affects you when you are out on the roads? Roger: No, not at all. I’ve been having these horrible nightmares. Sometimes they are so bad that I can’t even make it to work, and my boss has started telling me that my performance is slipping, too. I’ve been drinking a lot since my accident because I can’t seem to get the thought of it out of my mind and it is the only thing that seems to help when I feel shaky. I’ve started to drink just to get the memory of the accident out of my mind. At home, I’m so worried...