Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) 2
Post-traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD, is a common anxiety illness that develops when a person is traumatically exposed to an emotionally terrifying, possibly life-threatening event. While most people tend to associate PTSD with soldiers, this emotional disorder can develop in a variety of other people who have also have experienced extremely terrifying stressful events that are outside the range of what is considered to be a normal human experience. The likelihood of developing PTSD depends on the severity and duration of the event, as well as the person's nearness to it. Friends and families of people, who are highly affected by this illness, can also develop minor symptoms from this disorder as well.
PTSD has only been recognized as a formal diagnosis since 1980. PTSD was first brought to public attention by war veterans and was once referred to as "shell shock" or "battle fatigue.” However, it was also referred to as the “soldier’s heart”, during the American Civil War. In World War I, symptoms that were continuously present with this condition were referred to as "combat fatigue." Soldiers who developed such symptoms in World War II were said to be suffering from "gross stress reaction," and many troops in Vietnam who had symptoms of what is now called PTSD were assessed as having "post-Vietnam syndrome." While PTSD has more than likely been around for numerous decades, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) officially added PTSD to its Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in the year of 1980. The VA then added PTSD to their diagnostic codes during the month of April of the same year. The criteria and diagnosis was eventually updated in the manual during the year of 2000. PTSD usually always follows a tragic event which causes helplessness and intense fear in an individual. Typically the symptoms develop shortly after the event, but may take years for them to occur. In order to be diagnosed and treated with PTSD, they require patients to have
POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) 3 symptoms that last for at least a duration of one month. Studies have shown that in comparison with male patients, female patients tend to have more re-experiencing symptoms and were more likely to meet criteria for current PTSD. Men diagnosed with PTSD were more likely to meet criteria for a substance use disorder and for antisocial personality disorder over females. No gender differences were found in the presence of PTSD as a primary disorder. Overall, male and female patients with current PTSD present with fairly comparable clinical profile. A person's race, religion or ethnicity was not found to influence whether or not they had PTSD at some point in their life. However, other differences were found in African Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans, stating these types of individuals were more likely to develop and have major episodes of PTSD. Reports have also shown that European Americans and Latinos tended to have experienced less traumatic events and did not develop PTSD. Overall, a person is not more likely to develop PTSD just because of their ethnicity. However, it seems as though that being from a minority group (with the exception of Latinos) is connected with increased likelihood (or risk) for having PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event. Although people of any age can develop PTSD, the average age of onset is 23 years old. While people as young as 18 can develop PTSD, researchers discovered that men are most vulnerable to develop PTSD and their symptoms between the ages of 41 and 45 years, while women are most vulnerable at ages 51 to 55.
During the years, over 17 different symptoms have been identified for people with PTSD. These 17 symptoms are divided into 3 separate categories; re-experiencing,