Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a widespread disorder that affects certain individuals psychologically, behaviorally, and emotionally following the experience of a traumatic event (Lee et al., 2005, p. 135). However, because of inconsistencies regarding the percentage of individuals who experience PTSD and the percentage of individuals who subsequently develop PTSD, researchers hypothesize that both biological and environmental factors contribute to the development of PTSD (Wolf et al. 2010, p. 328). In order gain a better understanding of this disorder and to discover contributing and predicative factors which contribute to the development of PTSD, this paper analyses the historical context and prevalence of PTSD, the biological and environmental contributing factors, and types of intervention used to mediate the effects of PTSD. In conclusion, the paper advocates the interrelated nature of environmental and biological influences on the development of PTSD and suggests future areas of research which may increase an interventionists ability to assist an individual suffering from PTSD.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that may occur after an individual has experienced one or more intense or traumatic experiences (Friedman, 2007). These experiences may include anything that causes an individual to experience trauma such as combat exposure, sexual assault, physical abuse, or a life-threatening situation (Gersons & Carlier, 1992). However, not all individuals who are exposed to traumatic level of stress develop PTSD which suggests that some individuals may be more susceptible to the disorder than others (Lee et al., 2005, p. 135). Consequently, research regarding PTSD typically involves an examination of both environmental and biological factors which may contribute to the development of PTSD. Most researchers agree that while PTSD may partially arise from an individual’s genetic predisposition to psychopathology, the expression and degree of PTSD related symptoms may differ depending on the individual’s environment and specific experience (Wolf et al. 2010, p. 328). This paper examines PTSD in regard to historical content, relevant research, and types of intervention in order to determine what factors predominately contribute to and predict the development of PTSD. Description
The symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can often be terrifying and have the potential to significantly alter an individual’s ability to continue with simple, routine activities. Symptoms of PTSD frequently start directly following the occurrence of a traumatic event, but in some cases symptoms may not occur until months or years after the event. Symptoms may also come and go over several years, indicating that the individual is experiencing PTSD. Although symptoms of PTSD are idiosyncratic, the DSM-IV requires that all patients diagnosed with PTSD should express “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning” (Hales & Zatzick, 2007). The DSM-IV also lists several more specific symptoms that must occur for an individual to be diagnosed with PTSD. Physical symptoms may include skin disorders, bowel problems, headaches, vomiting, and fatigue (First, Frances, & Pincus, 2002). Behavioral PTSD symptoms listed in the DSM-IV include memory loss, difficulty concentrating, depression, guilt, insomnia, nightmares, recurring memories, and emotional outbursts (First, Frances, & Pincus, 2002). Although the DSM-IV lists several different types of symptoms that an individual suffering from PTSD may experience, there are four main types of symptoms found to occur in almost all individuals suffering from this disorder. The first symptom that most often occurs in these individuals is re-experiencing symptoms. These symptoms are due to horrifying memories of the traumatic event that come back...
References: Bernat, J. A., Ronfeldt, H. M., Calhoun, K. S., & Arias, I. (1998). Prevalence of traumatic
events and peritraumatic predictors of posttraumatic stress symptoms in
Breslau, N., Kessler, R. C., Chilcoat, H. D., Schultz, L. R., Davis, G. C., & Andreski, P.
Chisholm, B., Freeman, D., & Cooke, A. (2006). Identifying potential predictors of traumatic reactions to psychotic episodes. The British Journal of Clinical Psychology / The British Psychological Society, 45(4), 545-559.
Dekel, S., Mandel, C., & Solomon, Z. (2011). Shared and unique predictors of post- traumatic growth and distress. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 67(3), 241-252.
Deep-Soboslay, A., Martin, C
posttraumatic stress symptoms among 3,271 civilian survivors of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the world trade center. American Journal of Epidemiology, 173(3), 271-281. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwq372
Dunmore, E., Clark, D
First, M., Frances, A., & Pincus, H. (2002). DSM-IV-TR Handbook of differential
Flouri, E. (2005). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): What we have learned and what we still have not found out. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20(4), 373-37. doi:10.1177/0886260504267549
Gersons, B., & Carlier, I. (1992). Post-traumatic stress disorder: the history of a recent concept. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 161, 742-748.
Hales, R., & Zatzick, D. (1997). What is PTSD? The American Journal of Psychiatry:
Editorial, 154(2), 143-145.
Jacobs, B. L. (1991). Serotonin and behavior: Emphasis on motor control. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 52, 17-23.
Kessler, R. C., Sonnega, A., Bromet, E., Hughes, M., & Nelson, C. B. (1995). Posttraumatic stress disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey. Archives of General Psychiatry, 52, 1048–1060.
McPherson-Sexton, M. S., & Hostetler, B. (2009). How to respond to the crisis victim with PTSD symptoms: An intervener 's guide. Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations, 9, 61-66.
Solomon, Z., Gelkopf, M., & Bleich, A. (2005). Is terror gender-blind? Gender differences in reaction to terror events. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 40, 947–954.
Southwick, S. M., Bremner, D., Krystal, J. H., & Charney, D. S. (1994). Psychobiologic research in post-traumtic stress disorder. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 17(2), 251-264.
Vecchi, G. (2009). Conflict and crisis communication: Methods of crisis intervention and stress management. Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association, 12 (4), 54-64.
Wolf, E. J., Miller, M. W., Lyons, M. J., Krueger, R. F., Tsuang, M. T., & Koenen, K. C. (2010). Posttraumatic stress disorder and the genetic structure of comorbidity. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 119(2), 320-330. doi:10.1037/a0019035
Please join StudyMode to read the full document