Avoidant Personality Disorder and Traumatic Events Essay

Submitted By Ranger175
Words: 1418
Pages: 6

Posttraumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder following exposure to a life-threatening or other extreme event that evoked great horror or helplessness. People who experienced severe traumatic events in their lives have a variety of stress responses that can be unpleasant and disabling. If symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are treated early, such responses can be avoided. However, if the symptoms are left untreated and linger for years, treatment may become problematic. The diagnoses of patient’s with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder are often very challenging, and with the help of the guidelines for differential diagnoses in a population with (PTSD), it allows the patient to be diagnosed properly. We are also going to examine how veterans, who experience combat-related trauma and women in abusive relationships, can be diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which goes untreated can result in disruptions in school, work, and family. Which can create additional problems like dysphoria, antisocial behavior, and even substance abuse. This is why it is important to effectively treat traumatic events early. It is very difficult to diagnose patients who may have symptoms of (PTSD), mainly because of the high co morbidity between (PTSD). People with persistent (PTSD) and other psychiatric diagnoses can possibly be misdiagnosed for other disorders. Which makes it that much difficult to diagnose. Research by (Brady, K.T. (1997) Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Co morbidity: Recognizing Many Faces of PTSD), and (Solomon, S., & Davidson, J. (1997) Trauma; Prevalence, Impairment, Service Use, and Cost), found that 83% of individuals in the general population with (PTSD) have one or more other psychiatric diagnoses: 16% have one additional diagnoses, 17% have two, and 50% have three or more. This research shows how complicated it can be to diagnose a person who is showing symptoms of (PTSD). Case studies of Vietnam veterans completed where diagnostic guidelines were used. These guidelines follow five questions, and were developed for differential diagnoses in a population with (PTSD):
1. How do mental health professionals distinguish symptoms of Agoraphobia from Avoidance and hyper vigilance symptoms of PTSD? According to this first guideline, a person shouldn’t be diagnosed because they stay away from certain places or situations because of their fear of escape. Questions need to be asked like, what is the actual reason for the avoidance? Based on the findings, then a diagnosis can be determined to which disorder best fits the avoidance behavior. A case study on a Vietnam veteran who stayed away from malls, VA hospital, and restaurants, because his chest would tighten up, his heart would start racing, followed by the sweats and trembling. He said he only avoided places that reminded him of Vietnam. He was diagnosed with a panic disorder without agoraphobia, because this place reminded him of his experiences in Vietnam.
2. Are symptoms apparently due to specific phobias actually avoidance symptoms of PTSD? This second guideline tries to determine whether symptoms of specific phobias (i.e., being scared of heights, certain animals, the dark, ect.) correlate to avoidance symptoms of (PTSD). Many people have normal phobias, so asking for the reason of their fear will help determine the diagnoses. Specific phobias are diagnosed only if fear was not related to a traumatic event. A study with a Vietnam veteran who had a phobia about being on the telephone, linked back to a headset that was shot out of his hand. Therefore, this phobia is linked to PTSD and not a specific phobia. Then another case study showed, a Vietnam veteran who had a snake phobia. Even though snakes were an issue in Vietnam, he had this phobia before the military. In this case he was diagnosed with a specific phobia.
3. When are hallucinations symptoms of PTSD?