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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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The definition for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder given by the Webster's


World College Dictionary is, "a condition characterized by recurring and,

often, disabling

symptoms of anxiety, depression, etc., that later affects some persons who


experienced a traumatic event or situation, especially combat."

PTSD was first named Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome after the war because

symptoms did not seem to appear for years, even decades (Arpey). After the


actually did start showing up and making an impact on society, the government

started to

be concerned. They started doing extensive research on the syndrome and then


further to name it a disorder (Arpey).

PTSD can occur in anyone-- no matter what the age, as long as they have been

through a traumatic experience. Many common disasters that bring on PTSD are


floods, abductions, airplane crashes, and hostage situations (Morrison 269).


children that have undergone sexual abuse are likely to suffer from it

(Morrison 269). It

seems, however, that survivors of combat are the most frequent victims

(Morrison 269).

It is more likely for a younger adult to acquire PTSD than for someone that


older(Morrison 269). This could be why such an apparent outbreak of PTSD


after the Vietnam War. After all, the average age of a soldier drafted to

Vietnam was


Some of the symptoms that occur with PTSD are: difficulty falling asleep

or staying asleep, irritability or outbursts of anger, difficulty

concentrating, hypervigilance,

and exaggerated startle response (Frances 428). The PTSD sufferer often goes


re--experiencing of the event or events that have traumatized he or she

(Frances 428). It

can occur in many different ways, although the person goes through much

avoidance and

self-- denial of the subject.

Many sufferers have extensive personal problems in their lives while dealing


PTSD. Right after the event, the person often experiences "psychic numbing",

which is a

large disinterest to the outside world (Frances 425). Much of the time, the

person stops

participating in activities that they once enjoyed, and start to feel

detached from people

that they once felt strong emotions toward (Frances 425). They seem to have a


with intimacy, affection, and sexuality (Frances 425). The problem is, like

everything else,

they do not care about it anymore. Often times, the individual can not

foresee themselves

having any kind of a future such as a marriage, children, or a career. They

even believe

that they will have a shortened life span (Frances 425).

Much of PTSD trauma is brought on by guilt. The feeling that, "I should


done something to save them", or "It should have been me, not him",

occur in the

sufferers (Frances 425). It is difficult for these people to deal with the

fact that they

survived and someone that they cared about had to die. This is one of the

main reasons

that PTSD sufferers have a problem getting too close to anyone while dealing

with all of

these emotions. They fear that they will be put in a similar situation that

would resemble

what happened to them in Vietnam. It is imperative for them to avoid these

situations and

thoughts at all costs. (Frances 425).

PTSD brings a lot of pain and suffering upon Vietnam veterans and their


but the good news is that there is help for them. Therapists have studied

many PTSD

patients and found different helpful approaches to use (Friedman). Some of

the most

common therapeutic treatments are: Psychodynamic



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