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How Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Affects People's Health

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is just another affliction where people who have been in disastrous events or have been sexually abuse and physically abuse cannot forget about their past events. It is known that PTSD usually happens to the people that have lived the moment of the war. To the people that have lived a severe moment, doctors prescribed a certain medication to control their PTSD, as well as they recommend them to talk to a psychiatrist for comfort. However, the medication that they get could not even be helping the person to get better as many symptoms start to present if they wait to long for treatment. Even though doctors have perceived that PTSD has many kinds of symptoms, many people with PTSD feel solitary with their traumatic flashbacks, as they are facing agonized moments where their health is determined to affect their psychological background. For instance, after a person got in a serious car crash has not forgotten about the incident. Every time she drives through the place where the accident occurred, she begins to have flashbacks like if it were happening again feeling so alone and cold.

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms reveal once a person has experienced a very traumatized event as well as it can happen to anyone at any age. Ways in which a person can result with PTSD is by living war, serious car accidents, natural disasters, and by physically and sexually abused. PTSD symptoms may be increasingly difficult to cure depending on how much the person has developed it. For example, there are the intrusive memories. Intrusive memories are commemorating back to the event as if it were happening once again. In this case, Psychology Today mentions that these memories happen when “having bad dreams or distressing memories about the event”. For instance, individuals who go through a very traumatized event and as their PTSD symptoms develop, they begin to feel the pain again from what they have seen before. In dreams, they feel attacked by someone else. Likewise, when a person talks or does an action that requires going back to the event, Psychology Today mentioned that “experiencing intense emotions when reminded about the event” make them tenser. That is to say that the more they are reminded their symptoms begin to rise in a way that their body starts reacting in different ways such as “having intense physical sensations” like: “heart pounds or misses a beat, sweating, difficulty breathing, feeling faint, and feeling loss of control” Symptoms like that may increase the chances of health risks if they do not treat themselves fairly. As those intense physical sensations occur more, it would become more severe to treat. The sensations create an immense heat in their body as they feel like they are suffocating. In this case, the manifestations are also part of emotional distress and/or physical reactions that recall the event they have lived in. For physical reactions within people with PTSD can either try to hurt someone with words or actions without thinking of it. Moreover, they can commit things that they might not be able to control because of how disturbing the memory is even though they fight to not take further actions.

Moreover, individuals could have a hard time trying to be optimistic about anything. But because they have lived bothersome events, they acquire negative changes on thoughts and moods through the process of their PTSD symptoms. The changes are not intentional to get the attention of a person but, it is the fact that because they have lived a traumatized event changes their mood when eliciting to the event. Therefore, it is challenging for them to maintain positive thoughts. To explain more in detail why people with PTSD have trouble experiencing positive thoughts, Heidi Hanson creates a work of art that identifies the negatives of PTSD. Here is an artwork by Heidi Hanson that shows Why is it difficult to think positive:

Hanson’s artwork represents the symptoms that are constantly triggering a person with PTSD. Each drawn figure is known to be part of a symptom attacking the individual; Hanson calls them “monsters” crumbling with negativity. Every “monster” has its own perspective; their job is to bring a person down to keep them from becoming optimistic, unless, the individual fights it hard enough to push it away.

However, because there are “monsters” that are spawning in a person’s mind due to their PTSD symptoms, it is also affecting them to get closer to others. The negativism held inside a person does not allow them to maneuver into different surroundings. Mayo Clinic includes that PTSD drags people to “feeling detached from family and friends”. The cause of feeling distant is because they perceive peculiar emotions and it is tough to control. PTSD symptoms take over a person’s mind creating a disturbing memory from the past that leads them to a variety of sorrow. Feeling disconnected from family and friends because of variant emotions makes it harder for them to be able to communicate for what they are going through.

Not to mention, feeling distant is not the only matter of negative and change of mood, but also, the thought of being un-active carries them down to more negativism. But because they have been through severe pain in the past, their lack of interest in activities decrease. It is important to understand that individuals lose interest in activities because “people suffering from PTSD will go to great lengths will try to avoid any thoughts of the traumatic event they experienced”. With that said, personals can distinguish where they are, and if it is a place or an activity that reminds them of their traumatic event, they will most likely be pinched back to their “reality” created in their mind as it will also change their character to an agitated reaction.

The symptoms of PTSD also involve the physical and emotional reactions due to the manifestations increasing if PTSD keeps developing. Because traumatic events evolve over time, Gehrman indicates, “individuals prior to trauma exposure are more likely to develop PTSD following the exposure, indicating that disturbed sleep increases vulnerability”. People’s painful past feels like a burden, therefore, because they keep having irruptive memories and their body reacts to it unconditionally, they cannot get on with their sleep. With that said, “recent studies are finding that insomnia and recurrent nightmares are independently associated with a number of negative sequelae, including suicidal ideation and behavior, over and above the effects of PTSD and depression”. The thoughts of decapitating one itself are nowhere to resolve the problem they are facing. Not to mention, the effects that PTSD encounters are far strong that could make a person take serious actions on themselves.

Regardless of not able to fall asleep because of irruptive memories of severe events, people with PTSD have a hard time trying to learn things over again. For people with PTSD, it is understandable that they have a hard time learning. For this reason, they have difficulties recalling “words, facts and other important information such as appointments, specific details of past events, especially with regard to traumatic events”. The trauma that people lived in has them stressing because they cannot concentrate enough to handle what they need to learn. The unpleasant flashbacks lead them to lack of concentration where it distracts them easily.

Furthermore, people with PTSD are like people that are very short tempered because of agitation, irritation, and or events coming back. Due to getting annoyed or reminded by the traumatized events, people can present aggressive behaviors. Veteran Affair Research Communications stated, “more than 200 veterans with PTSD diagnoses for both PTSD severity and reckless behavior at the beginning of the study, starting in 2006, and again four years later”. This means that aggressive behavior increases when PTSD evolves more as this could lead to having a hard time treating PTSD. This also has to do with flashbacks coming back. The thought of getting the same memories from what they lived and others reminding them with certain topics about their past events irritates them too,

At the same time, as PTSD keep developing, many people are not able to control their symptoms. Many say that people are not able to control their symptoms because it has worsened. However, it is important to realize that when people obtain treatment, some of the medication that they prescribe may not work. According to Patricia Powers, a psychology professor at Arizona Western College stated that it is possible for people with PTSD to receive the wrong treatment also mentioning that if a person talks about their anxiety with a doctor and the doctor does not examine them further, they may be just prescribed medication without addressing recurring thoughts and/or hallucinations. Prescribed with the wrong treatment leads them to feel helpless. In this case, treatment may not be helpful for people with PTSD.

Many people may think that PTSD is easy to cure with all the medication that provided to them, but somehow, there could be a possibility that people with PTSD can get the wrong treatments. Therefore, the questions stated if people think that individuals with PTSD get the wrong treatment. A number of people said maybe, which makes sense because they might consider the effectiveness of the medication, and the other few said they do get the wrong treatment knowing that they might not be furthered examined and just one person said that they do no get the wrong treatment. It is indeed that for a lot of us, they are getting the wrong medication which has no effect and leads to a higher risk of developing a more serious condition. Here is a video where a former Navy Seal states why or why not to medicate people with PTSD. In effect to treatments not working, the body may not have effectiveness from medications either because everyone’s body is different. The medications given may react or may not react to be able to control their symptoms; therefore, many sense helplessness. However, under these circumstances, reasons, why medication may not work either, is because people do not take medicine the way it should be, which makes their symptoms increase and harder to treat.

Treatments can cause major problems if they do not treat themselves right and on time. Because a person feels that the effectiveness of the medication is not functioning, they go back and let the psychiatric know but, sometimes instead of examining the patient more to know if they need to add new or more medication, they rather just prescribe them with more medicine as this can become worse. Also, medication can have effects on different parts of the body. Maryland Recovery states, “there are general symptoms that include: chronic pain, headaches, stomach pain, vomiting, lower back pain, and muscle cramps” (1). Medicine can basically make all the symptoms increase and lead to severe pain too. Apart from the general symptoms that react to people with PTSD, the body must release the tension that makes their hands shake, tremble and twitch.

With regards to the distinctive intellections of post-traumatic stress disorder, it is a serious condition and people need to take in consideration that they need to obtain treatment before it develops more as it can be risky later in life. To be able to do that, doctors and psychiatrists treat them with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) where PTSD Alliance mentions that they are “known as antidepressants and are designed to change the way your brain releases chemicals to combat stress and anxiety”. The antidepressants include two most used medications which called paroxetine (Paxil) and Sertraline (Zoloft). The antidepressants are mainly to calm the various symptoms they present with PTSD, as it also increases the amount of serotonin to a “feel-good” hormone in their brain to make them feel less depressed about themselves. Therefore, if patients are taking their treatments when they are supposed to, there is a great number of possibilities that the individual’s symptoms will decrease. The fact that medication is one way of treating those with PTSD, going to psychotherapy is another way to release any feelings that individuals perceive. Thus, there are different types of psychotherapies that people can attend to; the two most common ones are cognitive therapy and group therapy. PTSD Alliance emphasizes that “The counselor takes the patient through a series of 6-12-week sessions designed to help the patient talk through their memories and change how they think about the trauma they experienced”. That is to say that cognitive therapy gives the opportunity to patients to talk with their psychiatrist on one on to help him or her focus on the flashbacks they get and how it has changed them from that day on. Likewise, group therapy works similarly, but different. PTSD Alliance states that “it can be helpful to talk with other people who have gone through traumatic events and suffer from PTSD”. In other words, talking to others who have experienced traumatic events share stories and have empathy towards other people in the same group. The purpose of attending group therapy is to know other people’s stories where they can relate to them and know the pain they are going through. It is just another way of treating post-traumatic stress disorder. The whole point of prescribing treatment is to get better and release those pessimistic thoughts and return to the present moments instead of going back to those horrifying events.

Eventually, as previously stated, post-traumatic stress disorder has many kinds of symptoms that trigger individuals to traumatized events they have experienced. Anyone at any age can develop PTSD; and because it is a serious condition that can increase risk factors, people need to treat themselves as soon as possible. Without treatment, their flashbacks become more disturbing where their behaviors and moods will drastically change. That is why, like mentioned before, doctors and psychiatrist need to examine patients furtherly to not misdiagnose them with the improper treatment that will be able to control their PTSD symptoms.

Works Cited

  • “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder.
  • Hanson, Heidi. “Why It’s Difficult to ‘Think Positive!’ When You Have PTSD.” The Art of Healing Trauma, 28 Apr. 2015, www.new-synapse.com/aps/wordpress/?p=956.
  • “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 6 July 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967.
  • “Friends and Family.” PTSD UK |, 2019, www.ptsduk.org/friends-and-family/.
  • “PTSD & Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.” PTSD Alliance, 2019, www.ptsdalliance.org/.
  • Gehrman, Philip, et al. “PTSD and Sleep.” Ptsd.va.gov, 2016, www.ptsd.va.gov/publications/rq_docs/V27N4.pdf.
  • Tull, Matthew. “Specific Learning Difficulties People With PTSD Can Have.” Verywell Mind, 18 Sept. 2018, www.verywellmind.com/learning-difficulties-in-ptsd-2797511.
  • Veterans Affairs Research Communications. ‘Reckless behavior fuels ongoing stress for some with PTSD: Risky conduct could lead to additional traumas, worse PTSD symptoms.’ ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 June 2017. .
  • Campos, Karen I. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Affecting People’s Health.” 19 Mar. 2019.
  • “The Effects Of PTSD And Trauma Has On Our Mind, Body And Family.” Maryland Recovery, 22 June 2018, www.marylandrecovery.com/blog/the-heavy-toll-of-ptsd-and-trauma-on-the-body-and-mind/.
  • “PTSD Treatment and Post Traumatic Stress Recovery.” PTSD Alliance, 2019, www.ptsdalliance.org/treatment/.

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