Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - Something we all need to be aware of!

We have not recovered from the Tsunami and now we have tanks on the streets.

Traumatic events--war, combat, natural disasters, and other life-threatening experiences--have always been a part of human existence. However, the impact of these events on the survivors was not fully understood until recently.We now know traumatic events change the survivor psychologically, biologically and socially.
The diagnostic criteria for PTSD:
A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present: (1) The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.
(2) The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Note: In children, this may be expressed instead by disorganized or agitated behavior.

B. The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in one or more of these ways: (1) Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions. Note: in children, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the trauma are expressed.
(2) Recurrent distressing dreams of the event. Note: in children, there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content.
(3) Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur on awakening or when intoxicated). Note: in children trauma-specific reenactment may occur.
(4) Intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.
(5) Physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble aspects of the traumatic event.
C. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by three (or more) of the following: (1) Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma. (2) Efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma. (3) Inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma. (4) Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities. (5) Feeling of detachment or estrangement from others. (6) Restricted range of affect (e.g. unable to have loving feelings). (7) Sense of foreshortened future (e.g. does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or normal life span).
D. Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the trauma), as indicated by two (or more) of the following:
(1) Difficulty falling or staying asleep. (2) Irritability or outbursts of anger. (3) Difficulty concentrating. (4) Hypervigilance. (5) Exaggerated startle response.

Experts agree the mere passage of time will not relieve PTSD. The longer one waits, the more difficult management may become. On the other hand, it is never too late to start counseling.

1 Comments:

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1:34 PM  

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