Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that is triggered by a traumatic event. One can develop PTSD from experiencing or witnessing something traumatic, which causes intense fear, horror or helplessness. Symptoms of PTSD are re-experiencing the traumatic event, avoidance, reduced responsiveness, and increased arousal, anxiety or guilt as a result of the event that last longer than a month (APA, 2000). I will examine PTSD from a biological, developmental and motivational perspective.
Research has shown that those from serve stress have abnormal activity of a hormone called cortisol and a neurotransmitter/ hormone norepinephrine in urine, blood and saliva of victims (Delahanty et al., 2005). As a result of long term stress individuals experience further biochemical damage. The hippocampus and amygdala is also affected; effecting memory and body stress hormones. With this damage to the hippocampus memories and constant arousal are found in PSTD victims (Bremner, 2005). Damage to the amygdala affects emotions which results in repeated anxiety and strong emotions as if the event is still happening.
Research has also show that certain childhood experiences can put people at risk to develop PTSD. People whose childhood was marked by poverty, experienced psychological disorder at a young age or whose parents separated or divorced young then 10 (Ozer et al., 2003).