Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a mental disorder, which can occur after a traumatic event outside the range of normal human experience. Symptoms and manifestation of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder vary based on each patient, but the most common symptoms include reliving of the event, hyper vigilance or alertness, insomnia, anger and aggression, reduced social interaction, night terrors and possible flashbacks. There is a vast array of treatments and treatment plans but just as how the symptoms from patient to patient vary so do effective treatments. Currently PTSD is most commonly treated with routine traditional psychotherapy and mediated with medication. There has been significant research done supporting alternative medicine and the military has begun using combined treatments. This paper will give an in-depth look at this mental disorder by first discussing what we do know about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, including the disorder’s history, what is currently understood and future outlook for the disorder. Next we will discuss the psychological symptoms that are associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, including the clinical definition, manifestations, and effects to patient. The third section of this paper will discuss many of the treatments used to treat PTSD, ranging from the traditional psychotherapy to the broad array of alternative treatments available. The final sections of this paper will include a short summary of the topics discussed and my final conclusions. What Do We Know About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD is not a new disorder it has existed since the very first major trauma. Even though PTSD can happen to anyone who has experienced a traumatic event this paper will focus on Combat Related PTSD. “I am blind to beauty for I have seen the ugliness of war, my heart discard my souls an open sore, my spirits broken and my body is not well, for I have seen the smoke and fire and passed through the gates of hell, I’ve held a dying man grasping for last breath and been surrounded by the taste of death and the smell of fear, I’ve buried both friend and foe in fields where no crops will ever grow, there is no honor in taking of a life, and I have done so with my rifle and my knife, and I do not sleep well at night, for in my dreams I still fight, and the enemy I see is a soldier… and its me.” [ (Lyons, 2007) ] History of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:
Looking back throughout history there have been countless accounts of soldiers running from the battlefield, having emotional breakdowns and suffering from the myriad of symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The very first case of soldiers experiencing these symptoms was in 1678 documented by a group of Swiss military Physicians [ (Zagata, 2010) ].
During the bloodiest war in American history the Civil War physicians of the time documented more emotionally disabling behaviors to the stress and fear of battle. Due to the lack in the field of psychology at the time the soldiers were sent home with no treatment or supervision and often looked at as weak and cowardice by their fellow soldiers [ (Zagata, 2010) ]. This is when the stigma of PTSD began. The Russian army was the first to realize the connection between the stress of war and the mental breakdown of a soldier. In 1905 during the Russian and Japanese war, the Russian soldiers also began to display the symptoms of PTSD and Russia took the first steps to legitimize these symptoms as an actual condition or disorder [ (Zagata, 2010) ]. Even after Russia had begun to recognize this as an actual disorder America continued to view PTSD and its symptoms as a stigma for the weak. During World War I soldiers were subject to such mass slaughter from the use of the first major artillery war that physicians assumed the change in mental status was from concussions sustained from the artillery blasts and coined the phrase or diagnosis or “Shell Shock” [...
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