Post-traumatic stress disorder

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychological condition that surfaces after — sometimes, long after — particularly high-stress life experiences, usually involving death and suffering. The most well-known instances of PTSD are war veterans who experienced combat; and victims of rape. [1] Though less known, children in foster care are more likely than combat veterans to develop PTSD. [2]

PTSD sometimes becomes apparent after lying dormant in the subconscious until something triggers recollection of the memory, or other minor stresses build up upon the previous high-stress experience.

Some... people, including notable liberal George Carlin, posit that PTSD is a "politically correct" euphemism for what was previously called shell shock.[3] In reality, the term "post-traumatic stress disorder" came around for the sole purpose of efficiency — streamlining the DSM. Calling shell shock PTSD is about as politically correct as calling your poodle a dog.

Symptoms and effects[edit]

Symptoms of PTSD are similar to those of a typical nervous breakdown and can be treated through therapy. They include:

  • Insomnia, nightmares, night terrors
  • Intrusive thoughts; flashbacks
  • Dissociation
  • Loss of appetite[4]
  • Depression
  • Physical illness or disability
  • Inability to cope with mundane tasks
  • Loss of drive, both sexual and mental

In denial[edit]

There are some people who are actually in denial over the scientific evidence for PTSD; some of these folks include veterans,[5] those in the medical community,[5] and some in the U.S. military who view it as simply a mental weakness.[5] Much of the denial is thought to be in reaction to the stigma attached to mood or anxiety disorders[5] — with so many people in the U.S. getting diagnosed with one thing or another, people are possibly trying not to associate themselves or veterans with a condition that more often than not carries a stigma.

It is, however, widely recognized that PTSD is likely an over-diagnosed condition[5] and that, while there is overwhelming evidence supporting its existence, many diagnoses are likely due to doctors overusing it as an umbrella diagnosis for a range of symptoms.

Self-Diagnosis[edit]

With the advent of the internet, this disorder is coming to be more and more self-diagnosed, often for mundane things. On Tumblr, it seems to have gone into overdrive where complaints of "Trigger Warnings" cause flak from every direction.

References[edit]

  1. Olszewski TM, Varrasse JF (2005). "The neurobiology of PTSD: implications for nurses". Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services 43 (6): 40–7.
  2. Dubner AE, Motta RW; Motta, RW (June 1999). "Sexually and physically abused foster care children and posttraumatic stress disorder". Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 67 (3): 367–73.
  3. And before that, cowardice.
  4. Surprisingly, no enterprising soul has yet suggested using PTSD as a weight loss tool.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 NBC News: PTSD may be overdiagnosed, but PTSD deniers are 'wrong,' psychologists say 26 November 2012