Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Abstract

The aim of the research paper is to define the importance of understanding the severity of post-traumatic stress disorder. It analyses the major categories of PTSD symptoms distinguished in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of Fourth Edition. It also focuses on the historical aspects of the disorder, especially when and how it appeared. It also analyses the disorder and its symptoms during war conflicts and investigates the causes of PTSD. The paper provides a study of ways of treatment and prevention of the disorder. It argues that immediate medical assistance may help to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder. It also reviews cross-cultural issues pertaining to PTSD. The paper concludes with the discussion of the influence of religion and spiritualism on the post-traumatic stress disorder. Based on the Bible, it discusses the attitude of the Christians and Apostles to the cause, treatment and prevention of the disorder.

Introduction

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a neurosis caused by distressing or life-taking events. Stress accelerates emotional and pathologic consequences. PTSD is a severe heath issue, which requires thorough treatment intervention. The type, duration and degree of a traumatic event influence the severity of PTSD and its treatment.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) distinguishes three major categories of symptoms (Muldoon & Lowe, 2012). In accordance with the DSM-IV, one of significant features of PTSD is re-experiencing distressing events, which is an importunate traumatic recollection of events, memories and intense psychical responses (Muldoon & Lowe, 2012). Another important feature is withdrawal and emotional consternation, especially equivocation of activities, emotions, conversations, and loss of interest (Muldoon & Lowe, 2012). The final sign of PTSD, according to the DSM-IV, is overexcitement, which includes insomnia, hypervigilance, and impatience (Muldoon & Lowe, 2012). The current paper will discuss historical aspect of PTSD, its causes, ways of treatment, and prevention. It will also review cross-cultural issues pertaining to post-traumatic stress disorder. The paper also discusses the topic, including disorder’s cause, treatment, and prevention, from a Christian worldview perspective.

The Historical Aspects of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a widespread and well-known neurotic condition. There is no one in the globe who can resist mental or emotional conditions. The symptoms of this disorder are best notable after witnessing such events as military combats (Iribarren, Prolo, Neagos, & Chiappelli, 2005). Military psychiatrists have studied the consequences of traumatic events, including war conflicts.

The concept of PTSD is not new. People often documented its affects throughout the history. The first time people observed it was right after the Vietnam War. At first, psychiatrists proposed a term post-Vietnam syndrome to this disorder (Iribarren et al., 2005). Later, they stated that the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder resemble those affected by such traumatic events as sexual assaults and natural hazards (Iribarren et al., 2005). In 1870, ABR Myers was the first who proposed the term PTSD, which included the symptoms of lassitude, respiratory affection, rapid heartbeat and shivering (Iribarren et al., 2005). The symptoms of disorder resembled the lack of emotions and fear rather than the power to subdue consequences. In 1871, the American physician Jacob Mendes Da Costa stated that soldiers most commonly experience the syndrome during stressful situations, especially those involving fear (Iribarren et al., 2005). The disorder was increasingly widespread during the American Civil War and the First World War (Iribarren et al., 2005).

During the next twenty-five years, scientists and practitioners focused their attention on PTSD (Iribarren et al., 2005). They considered this syndrome controversial and argued about every single issue of this disorder and its medication. The National Center for the PTSD evaluated that in the middle of 1990s, five percent of men, ten percent of women, and approximately fifteen percent of Vietnamese veterans suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (Iribarren et al., 2005). It also stated that nearly thirty percent of men and women who took part in war conflicts experienced this disorder (Iribarren et al., 2005).

Cause of the Illness

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) comes out of subjection to a traumatic event. In accordance with the American Psychiatric Association, direct shock by which a person responds to the situation includes fright, impuissance, and dread (Kabatchnick, 2009). PTSD is a syndrome in the DSM-IV that is a response to a specific extrinsic event. Thus, the disorder occurs after a person experiences a traumatic event that differs from the row of everyday situations (Kabatchnick, 2009). This trauma is a direct cause of the conclusive symptoms. However, it is impossible to say that the trauma solely produced these symptoms. The symptoms such depression, sleep disorder, and difficulties in concentration precede the outcomes of the event (Kabatchnick, 2009).

Moreover, not every person facing a traumatic situation will experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Only a small number of those who suffers from the trauma develop the disease. There is a high capability that the seriousness of a stressful situation may cause such consequences. However, some researchers still deny such relation between the seriousness of the event and its consequences (Kabatchnick, 2009).

The outcomes may contain such symptoms as bad recollections, tumultuous dreams, high stress, disturbance, and even a state of depression. Occasionally, post-traumatic stress disorder may cause unfriendly and self-destructive attitude and behavior (Kabatchnick, 2009). PTSD comprises three distinctive areas: urgent, intractable, and with delayed outset. Urgent post-traumatic stress disorder includes symptoms duration of which is less than three months. The duration of intractable symptoms is more than three months. Thirdly, the disorder with delayed outset may happen in more than half a year after the trauma (Kabatchnick, 2009).

Medical diagnosis states that a person experiences post-traumatic stress disorder in case of trauma. Then, a person tries to overtake it by subduing it or weakening the pain. Later, he/she experiences the symptom of excessive awakening. The stress level grows within at least one month. Finally, it leads to an alteration in social behavior and attitudes (Kabatchnick, 2009).

Treatment

Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety trauma, outlined as neurosis caused by a war, combat, battle, or other shocking events. Without a proper medical care, PTSD may strongly affect the relationships of people and abuse the society. Even though there is an enormous number of ways of treatment of this disorder, some people receive inadequate one.

The most widespread method of curing PTSD is self-treatment. People buy guidebooks, which teach them how to behave after the deployment (Vitzthum, Mache, Joachim, Quarcoo, & Groneberg, 2009). They focus on self-renewing such as viability, inner control and strength. They state that symptoms that develop after trauma are normal and impermanent. Those people who use this type of treatment do not look for professional support (Vitzthum et al., 2009). While the main benefit of this treatment is inexpensiveness, its main evident disadvantage is the lack of medical care.

Another progressive type of curing PTSD is virtual therapy, which serves as prevention of the disorder and its treatment (Vitzthum et al., 2009). This method uses computer animations that match real life events and train proper responses to them. The benefit of this treatment is that symptoms of PTSD weaken, psychological affects and depression caused by trauma reduce (Vitzthum et al., 2009).

Thirdly, in order to cure PTSD, people tend to use combined treatment, such as collective psychotherapy, and unconventional medication, such as acupuncture and hypnotic state (Vitzthum et al., 2009). New ways of mental medical treatment require trained and qualified nurses and doctors. After nearly one month, approximately seventy patients out of more than four thousand of those who took part in collective care felt improvement of symptoms (Vitzthum et al., 2009). The advantages of this type of treatment are enormous because the combination of unconventional medicine and psychotherapy treats the main and secondary symptoms of the disorder.

Finally, another method of medical interference is debriefing. It is a short-term medical procedure showing positive results for PTSD caused by natural hazards. Its positive effects remain controversial among the scientists. For instance, the British soldiers, who tried out this method after returning from peace-management operation, showed a significant result in mitigation of alcohol addiction (Vitzthum et al., 2009). However, the researchers state that it is too early to consider this method as an effective treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Prevention

The prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder and new traumas, which may follow it, should be of a primary concern. People who received supportive counseling services showed positive results in decrease of symptoms of intrusion, evasion and depression (Kar, 2011). It is both a powerful treatment and prevention of lingering post-traumatic stress disorder. However, if the program is applied in the first month after the traumatic event, it will be impossible to repeat medical interference (Kar, 2011). If physicians provide it during four months after experiencing the trauma, it may show positive results. The main idea is that this reaction contains a particular transmission through the trauma and the influence of interference on a person’s symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The scientists also state that repetitive sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy result in more effectiveness when applied within the first three months after a traumatic event (Kar, 2011).

It is a widespread fact that members of armed forces, emergency response teams, and others whose work is neutralizing natural hazards may experience exposure to traumas and develop post-traumatic stress disorder (Kar, 2011). The data retrieved from cognitive behavioral therapy shows that people who have risky jobs should get prevention interference and programs connected with the appliance of traumatic events (Kar, 2011). There is a great possibility that cognitive behavioral interference programs may avert the risk of developing the lingering post-traumatic stress disorder in people who have hazardous occupations. The influence of a preventive interference programs on citizens relies on the following main norms: how many people who are at risk receive the proper professional help and how high is the decrease of symptoms (Kar, 2011).

Thus, it is a wide-known fact that it is impossible to apply multiple interfering programs to all individuals who experienced traumas. The researchers do not advise multiple psychological interferences for every-day use (Kar, 2011).

Cross-Cultural Aspects of PTSD

People who had psychiatric disturbances, acute post-traumatic stress disorder and symptoms caused by alcohol abuse were most likely to ask for behavioral health treatment. It is a well-known fact that Caucasians are more likely to commit suicide than African Americans. They have the highest rate of self-slaughter among people of all ages and races.

In order to find out if there were any divergent factors in treatment of PTSD, the American Medical Association thoroughly investigated this vital issue. It showed that all people received the equivalent treatment (Kabatchnick, 2009). The outcome of the study indicates that there is no racial partiality and injustice. The U.S. physicians who did their military service during the Vietnam War conducted a National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Survey (Kabatchnick, 2009). They compared the level of post-traumatic stress disorder in African-Americans and Caucasians. The survey showed that twenty-eight percent of African-American soldiers experienced PTSD, whereas the percentage of Caucasians who had the same disorder was approximately fourteen (Kabatchnick, 2009). The reasons for the difference in the level of post-traumatic stress disorder were constrained economic aspects, race discrimination, and an effect of being a member of a minority group.

Lately, the Department of Defense has tried to reduce the level of stress among those who serve in the armed forces (Kabatchnick, 2009). However, the outcome of the disorder remains the same and contains constant pressure and concurrent conditions of alcohol and drug abuse.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a report saying that the majority of military men who experienced post-traumatic stress disorder did not immediately seek for professional medical help (Kabatchnick, 2009). Sixty-five percent of the total number of soldiers said they were afraid that the society would perceive them as weak people (Kabatchnick, 2009). None of African-Americans asked for medical treatment (Kabatchnick, 2009). However, the survey states that young Caucasian men would like to report about disorders and receive a proper therapy (Kabatchnick, 2009).

Biblical Worldview of PTSD

When studying post-traumatic stress disorder, its causes, treatment, and prevention, it is significant to take into consideration spiritualism and religion. Religion provides a sense and meaning to accidental, senseless, or horrific events (Wortmann, Park, & Edmondson, 2011). It makes them a part of God’s generous and benignant plan. It changes the reactions and perspectives of traumatic events, making the outcome less dangerous (Wortmann et al., 2011).

For those people who believe in God, it is vital to remember that according to the Bible everything that happens to them, including the disorder, will be eventually good and bring positive results. For instance, in the Second Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul considers that God sends people all the difficulties that they can overcome with His help and power (Pullum, 2015). They should always rely on God, and try to transform their weaknesses into spiritual strengths (Lee, 2011). The Holy Bible for Christians is a guide for comprehending the connection between the human being and God.

The issue of reasons of traumatic events and suffering, which eventually lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, is vital for people of all ages, genders, and races around the globe. In case of such questioning, people start hesitating in God’s power and good will. The Bible includes many examples when people could bear any suffering due to their faith in God (Lee, 2011).

The specialists working with people who experienced traumatic event and later had PTSD symptoms state that clergy are extremely important in treatment of the disorder. For instance, in Psalm 31: 9-16, the King David fully relies on God’s treatment in times of distress (Okafor, 2011). Post-traumatic stress disorder is not a mental or psychological disease, which medical treatment or psychological therapy can easily fix. PTSD is an ethical, spiritual, and esthetic disorder (Lee, 2011). Clergy answer vital questions, which help people easily cope with the problem and find a proper solution.

Moreover, spirituality may also help to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder. The clergy can help a person to endure the dark experience of the trauma. They will be very helpful if the person asks for assistance right after the traumatic event. They help people to maintain their faith in God and explain why bad things sometimes happen to good people. According to the Romans 8:28, love and faith in God will prevent any problems and bring something positive out of the worst situation (Markland, 2014). They help to find a new meaning and purpose in life (Lee, 2011).

Conclusion

Thus, PTSD is a complex psychiatric disorder resulting from a trauma. Today, this issue is widespread due to the continuing war conflicts, terrorist acts, and other life-threatening events. However, the disease is not new as it first appeared during the American Civil War.

The cause of the post-traumatic stress disorder is the experience of a traumatic event, which leads to such symptoms as depression, stress, and difficulties in concentration. However, if a person seeks for treatment, there are such types of treatment as self-treatment, virtual therapy, collective psychotherapy, debriefing, and unconventional medication available. Since the scientists first introduced the term, they have tried to find better therapeutic techniques for treatment and prevention of the disorder. Moreover, another type of treatment and prevention of PTSD may be spiritualism and religion along with the help of clergy. They assist people in seeking for the answers to the vital questions.

Even though the researchers have been studying this issue for more than thirty years, the need for additional research is evident. It is significant to conduct studies that will focus on prevention of PTSD. Additional researches involving the scientists’ exploration of new medication and therapy would develop a scope of understanding of effective treatment for the disorder.

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