Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Free Essay Samples & Outline

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Essay on Post traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the mental health illnesses. For one to have the disorder, they must have gone through the traumatic event which are usually painful. The advantage of post traumatic disorder is that its caused is known as compared to other mental illnesses. This way a therapist knows what they are dealing with when attending to their patients.

Most of the people affected by post-traumatic stress disorder are war veterans. This is because during the war they come across traumatizing experiences which are hard to erase. Most of the victims end up taking excess alcohol, or get depressed (Thio, 12). Some of the victims end up isolating from the rest and avoid situations that will lead to them remembering what happened during the war.

The government has set up centers where the victims can seek help in case they feel they have symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder. There are veterans who seek help while there are those who decline to have the help.

Casualties of post-traumatic stress disorder find it hard to find the best solution for their condition. The problem that they face is because the condition is entirely mental. By being mental, it affects most aspects of the victim including the physical part. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that causes the victim to experience hyper arousal, avoidance and emotional numbing, Corrales (24). These characteristics result from traumatic events that victims go through in a part of their lives. The study of PTSD involves observation of symptoms.

This leads to many psychologists to believe that the condition arises as a result of the body reacting to normal stress. They believe that this is the normal way of the body of reacting to stressful conditions.

There are several theories that suggest that symptoms of PTSD vary from one victim to another. This variation depends on the ability of the body to withstand and cope with a certain traumatic event. Some victims are able to recover from the condition after a very short time. Others seem to maintain the condition for a long time with some cases lasting for the rest of the victim’s life. This condition occurs as a result of breaking the basic assumption of an individual about his invulnerability and the overall safety in the environment surrounding him. Exposure to these conditions causes the brain to break down and become weak.

The brain of a person in normal circumstances can integrate the trauma in his memory. However, PTSD causes the individual’s brain to form faulty beliefs about why some situations took place. The individual’s brain interprets the activities with guilt and self-blame. This causes the individual to get problems in trusting himself. Loss of self-esteem, control and intimacy causes the person to have problems integrating trauma in his memory.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is the only disorder which is caused by anxiety and has its cause known. This uniqueness helps in its treatment since the therapist and counselors tackle the issue directly. In post-traumatic stress disorder, anything that makes one feel like it’s a traumatic experience may result to the disorder. Some of the events that are likely to cause the disorder include violent acts, life-threatening disease, surviving car crash, natural catastrophe, war, and sexual assault.

PTSD often occurs to war Veterans, for example, after the end of the Vietnam War, most of the American troops returned home. However, most of the veterans were faced with a number of psychological and social challenges. Following the Great War, most of the Vietnam veterans were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. On the other hand, those who were not diagnosed with the disorder, battled with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (Cordesman, 27).

According to the research that was done, the veterans who experienced combat had higher chances of exhibiting post-traumatic stress disorder as compared to the ones who did not encounter the combat experiences. Moreover, among the veterans who had experienced the combat were divided into two groups depending on their roles. The two roles were the initiative and reactive roles. An example of reactive role was the foot soldier that was on the ground during the war. On the other hand, an example of initiative role was a helicopter pilot whose duty was to initiate and control the combat. However, the two roles involved the veterans risking death and serious injuries.

The foot soldier was to take care of the enemy in an environment that was full of surprise ambush attacks coming from the enemy. In this case, the confrontations from both sides were measured in feet. For the helicopter pilot, they fired at the enemy using machine guns and rockets from above and the confrontations were measured in hundreds of feet. The two groups faced different intense of the stress because there was difference when it came to viewing the after math of the battle and the distance (Cordesman, 20). Those on ground looked at the dismembered bodies, smelled and tasted death. Those who survived had to touch corpses as part of their routine.

In reality, no one wants to go through post-traumatic stress disorder. This is because for one to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, they have to go through the traumatic experience, and most of the traumatic experiences are usually painful. Moreover, the experiences end up creating lasting problems and at the same time end up controlling ones stress and anxiety levels.

The ministry of defense is reported to have said that about 11,000 serving members who went to the war have been diagnosed with various mental conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. The charity groups that helped the armed forces personnel adjust to normal life cautioned the government that the large scale redundancies meant that the victims who needed treatment would leave the group in case they lost their jobs.

Notably, the disorder can be re-experienced due to intrusive and recurrent distressing recollections of the event such as thoughts, perceptions, and images. Recurring dreams of the event, feeling and acting as if the event if recurring, exposure or reaction to cues symbolizing or resembling aspects relate to the event, physiological reactions due to exposure to cues resembling an aspect of the traumatic event, persistently avoiding stimuli linked with trauma and also numbness in general responsiveness. These include avoidance of feelings, thoughts or talks linked to the trauma, avoidance of places, people or activities arousing the trauma recollections, inability to remember significant aspects of the trauma, diminished participation or interest in important activities, feeling estranged or detached from other people, difficulty loving other people, losing hope and having a foreshortened future (England 80).

In addition, research indicates that the possible symptoms of this disorder are anger outburst or irritability, difficulty staying asleep or falling asleep, hypervigilance, difficulty in concentrating and having an exaggerated startle response. Research also indicates that this disorder causes impairment in occupational, social and other significant areas of functioning.

Research also shows that not all trauma victims develop PTSD. There is no systematic difference between victims of crime developing PTSD and those who don’t in reference to their demographic qualities such as employment, race, income, and education. Their personality or adjustment pattern may have led to the development of PTSD (Goulston, 28).
Research also shows that there is a relationship between the stress levels associated with crime and the depression before crime and the probability of developing PTSD.

This shows that victims assaulted in a severe manner have higher probability of suffering from PTSD compared to victims of lower stress crimes. Additionally, level of social support limits or prevents the development of PTSD and other psychological consequences of rape. However, victims can withdraw and avoid social support available to them. People may be more supportive in after getting full details of an assault while in some circumstances they nay not offer social support to victims. This is because they believe that the patients deserved it.

Research indicates that the most effective forms of PTSD treatment involve antidepressant medication or cognitive-behavior therapy. They can be used in combination or alone. Prolonged exposure is the psychological intervention that has been applied and tested in an extensive way. The procedure begins with information gathering in the initial sessions. Several sessions follow aimed at relieving the scene of rape from the imagination of the victim. The victims are encouraged to imagine and describe the assault to the therapist as many times as possible. The sessions are usually recorded for victims to listen to them at some time. In addition, patients are encouraged to participate outside the sessions of therapy which are safe and also eliciting fear or avoidance responses (Paulsen 98).

Cognitive therapy defines another psychological approach which can be used in combination with prolonged exposure or used alone. This form of therapy is effective in addressing maladaptive ways of perceiving events in the environment of a person. This can also be used to change unrealistic beliefs and assumptions causing negative emotions such as guilt.
Research also shows that there are numerous types of antidepressants medication which are effective in the treatment of PTSD. These include selective serotonin and inhibitors such as paroxetine and sertraline which reduce PTSD symptoms in many patients within a period of six weeks. Therefore, cognitive behavior is usually combined with medication (Kolk, 66).

Works cited

Kolk, Bessel A., Alexander C. McFarlane, and Lars Weisæth. Traumatic stress: the effects of overwhelming experience on mind, body, and society. New York: Guilford Press. 1996. Print.
Paulsen, Gary. Soldier's heart: a novel of the Civil War. New York: Delacorte Press. 1996. Print.
Goulston, M., Post traumatic stress disorder for dummies. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley. 2008. Print.
Cordesman, A. H., Frederiksen, P. S., Sullivan, W. D., & Center for strategic and international studies (Washington, D.C.). Salvaging American defense. Washington, D.C: CSIS Press. 2007. Print
Corales, Timothy., Focus on posttraumatic stress disorder research. New York: Nova Science Publishers. 2005. Print.


Memory and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The human brain is one of the most complex organs in the life of all mammals. The human brain resembles the brains of the other mammals, but when it comes to the comparison to body size, it is larger than all the others (Craighead, 2013). The size of the human brain in proportion to body size proves that is three times larger than that of a chimpanzee and twice as large as that of a bottlenose dolphin. The brain has several portions with each portion having a specific function that it carries out. The brain works on the division of labor, and this makes it function much more easily since each part is playing its own part.

When we talk about cognition, it refers to a number of mental processes that involve the memory, decision making, attention, reasoning, learning and comprehension and problem solving. Cognition is responsible for how one thinks, reasons, concentrates, judge and plans one’s everyday lives. Each and every decision that a human being makes depends on cognition. With old age creeping in, it is very important for one to maintain good cognitive health just like physical health. The decline in cognition and memory as the age advances is very common, and this is not a wonder (Weisberg 2013). Scientists are trying their best to find ways through which people can keep their brains clean and prevent the cognitive decline like the one experienced in Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is something that the doctors refer to as an invisible epidemic. Research shows that the disorder is far more widespread than most people think it is. This psychiatric condition occurs after one’s exposure to a scene which is very scaring and happens to freak them out (Vasterling, 2005). If the individual cannot therefore, forget the scenario, this leads to trauma which finally develops to the full condition, Post traumatic stress disorder. Each human being is prone to this disorder as long as what they experience triggers his/her inner most fears. After that, if they do not seek help early enough the trauma catches up with them eventually.

There are a couple of things in life that bring about post traumatic stress disorder. The first is childhood sexual abuse, which in this case childhood refers to anyone below the age of eighteen. This is the most common reason behind post traumatic stress disorder, and it affects men much more than it affects women. The reported rape cases to women surpass by far the molestation cases of men reported. A woman is a common rape target because she is an easier prey and cannot resist compared to the way a man can. Research shows that a very high percentage of women undergo rape, attempted rape or other forms of molestation before they can even turn eighteen.

There are other causes of post traumatic stress disorder and their impact differs according to the cause. The other common reason is the military combat and what the soldiers experience in the battlefield. As a first time soldier who has never experienced the murder of people, it becomes a hard task at first to swallow before one can get used to the situation (Reisberg, 2004). It is therefore, necessary for soldiers to be people of strong heart with a lot of zeal. This is to avoid the case of a soldier letting his emotions get the better part of him in the battlefield. Such a move is very dangerous and can even cost him his life or those of his colleagues.

Another cause of post traumatic stress disorder is a car accident. The scenes of some car accidents are very scary not only to children but to grownups. Take it for example, a child of age nine years old travelling in a family car with her parents and siblings. Unfortunately, their car gets hit off the road by a bus which has lost control and it veers of the road hitting a pole on the other side of the road. The whole family passes away on the spot and the nine year old kid alone survives. The images of seeing her dead family members around her will haunt this small kid for a very long time and eventually lead to post traumatic stress disorder (Craighead, 2013).

To anyone who has never experienced the brutal death of someone, whether they know them or not, this is a reason to send someone straight into direct post traumatic stress disorder. When done with brutality and mercilessly, it can affect ones brain especially that of a child or even an adult. Though an adult might handle the situation better, it has the same effect on them as it would have on a child. The major problem that comes is how to deal with the trauma, and this is where most people fail. The cognitive function of the memory might also affect the post traumatic stress disorder in some cases.

The symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder differ, and they can start showing immediately experiencing a traumatizing occurrence or after some time. For a very severe scene that one has experienced, it is the expected that the symptoms will start showing just after a short while and it should not take so long. The disorder cannot be detected until the symptoms persist for about a month, and they have a negative effect on someone’s work or school (Weisberg, 2013). In order for one to be declared to be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, there is a need for the person to test positive for three important symptoms; reliving symptoms, avoidance and numbing symptoms, and arousal symptoms.

The first set of symptoms happen when the patient starts re-experiencing the scene that caused the trauma trigger. The patient might start seeing things that relate, and in a way revoke the memory of the scene or even start having nightmares that are similar to the scene. The avoidance and numbing systems involve the patient in trying to run away from any factors that may remind him of the reason why they had the trauma in the first place. At this stage, the patient also feels it is hard to express what they feel and rarely talk to anyone. Even when approached by a psychiatrist, it takes time before they can open up. The last symptom involves the patient having emotional arousal. They tend to always be on the lookout for danger, and getting angered very easily at unnecessary things.

When comparing the elderly, those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have proven to have lower cognitive functioning compared to those not suffering from the disorder. This is because if the disorder is not treated early enough, the effects will still be there in old age. For such people their decision making seems to be rather rational and is focused on their fears (Reisberg 2004). They cannot do something that they know will revive the memories of the trauma itself and so happen to be very careful. Their emotions might also tend to be out of place and it is not a wonder to find out that they get angry so fast. This is because the trauma causes a trigger each and every other time and they act on impulse rather than act normally.

In some cases, the post traumatic stress disorder may affect the cognitive function of memory. In trying to access the reason for the trauma, psychiatrists ask the patient to go back and explain what happened. In this, a patient is posed with a challenge to face their fear and talk about what sunk him into depression and trauma. The use of the cognitive memory can lead to two things: the patient recovering from trauma or them developing post traumatic stress disorder. The outcome depends with the willingness of the patient to fight the situation and the effectiveness of the psychiatrist.

In most cases, most patient fear that if they talk about what happened, it will be like opening up a nearly healed wound to add medication. The main process of fighting the post traumatic disorder is actually talking about it. Once one has opened up about it, it means they are ready to face their fears and face the situation as it is. Once the patient has agreed to talk about it becomes much easier for them to heal and even maybe eventually forget about the scene and erases it completely from their minds. The part of completing forgetting what happened might seem to be hard but once one has come clean about it; the burden is finally lifted (Shiromani, 2009).

The process of healing fully from post dramatic stress disorder is quite a lengthy one and requires one to be patient. Patience is a key factor necessary to be on both sides that are both the patient and the psychiatrist since it is not such an easy task. The most important thing for the patient to do is to agree to open up and talk about their experience. It is more of a challenge where one is asked to face their fears and then is able to fight them. The reviving of the memory of what happened is the first sign of progress and as such should be used to encourage the patient that they can do better.

In conclusion, it is right to say that the post traumatic stress disorder is not on an age-based disorder. It can catch up with anyone despite the age. All there needs to be is the occurrence of a situation that triggers the fear in someone and that will lead to trauma. If the trauma is not well cultivated, it will surely cause the post traumatic disorder. It is however, very important to agree that the condition can be treated if only one is willing. The patient must show the willingness and urge to fight the trauma by talking and revisiting how it happened. If they do not do so, the effects will be adverse, and they will not only affect the patients’ emotions but also his normal cognitive functions.


Craighead, W. E., Miklowitz, D. J., & Craighead, L. W. (2013). Psychopathology: History, diagnosis, and empirical foundations.
Vasterling, J. J. (2005). Neuropsychology of PTSD: Biological, cognitive, and clinical perspectives. New York [u.a.: Guilford Press.
Shiromani, P. J., LeDoux, J. E., & Keane, T. M. (2009). Post-traumatic stress disorder: Basic science and clinical practice. New York Humana Press.
Weisberg, R. W., & Reeves, L. (2013). Cognition: From memory to creativity. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.
Reisberg, D., & Hertel, P. (2004). Memory and emotion. Oxford University Press: New York.