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Is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) a real disorder ?

Is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) a real disorder ?

By Mohammad Shazaib on Aug 29, 2020

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Chronology & Symptoms of PSTD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury. PTSD has been known by many names in the past, such as “shell shock” during the years of World War I and “combat fatigue” after World War II, but PTSD does not just happen to combat veterans. PTSD can occur in all people, of any ethnicity, nationality, or culture, and at any age. PTSD affects approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults every year, and an estimated one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. Women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD. Three ethnic groups – U.S. Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians – are disproportionately affected and have higher rates of PTSD than non-Latino whites. People with PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experiences that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares; they may feel sadness, fear, or anger; and they may feel detached or estranged from other people. People with PTSD may avoid situations or people that remind them of the traumatic event, and they may have strong negative reactions to something as ordinary as a loud noise or an accidental touch. A diagnosis of PTSD requires exposure to an upsetting traumatic event. However, the exposure could be indirect rather than first hand. For example, PTSD could occur in individual learning about the violent death of a close family or friend. It can also occur as a result of repeated exposure to horrible details of trauma such as police officers exposed to details of child abuse cases. Symptoms and Diagnosis Symptoms of PTSD fall into four categories. Specific symptoms can vary in severity. Intrusion: Intrusive thoughts such as repeated, involuntary memories; distressing dreams; or flashbacks of the traumatic event. Flashbacks may be so vivid that people feel they are re-living the traumatic experience or seeing it before their eyes. Avoidance: Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event may include avoiding people, places, activities, objects, and situations that may trigger distressing memories. People may try to avoid remembering or thinking about the traumatic event. They may resist talking about what happened or how they feel about it. Alterations in cognition and mood: Inability to remember important aspects of the traumatic event, negative thoughts and feelings leading to ongoing and distorted beliefs about oneself or others (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted”); distorted thoughts about the cause or consequences of the event leading to wrongly blaming self or other; ongoing fear, horror, anger, guilt or shame; much less interest in activities previously enjoyed; feeling detached or estranged from others; or being unable to experience positive emotions (a void of happiness or satisfaction). Alterations in arousal and reactivity: Arousal and reactive symptoms may include being irritable and having angry outbursts; behaving recklessly or in a self-destructive way; being overly watchful of one's surroundings in a suspecting way; being easily startled, or having problems concentrating or sleeping. Many people who are exposed to a traumatic event experience symptoms similar to those described above in the days following the event. References Bichitra Nanda Patra and Siddharth Sarkar. Adjustment Disorder: Current Diagnostic Status. Indian J Psychol Med. 2013 Jan-Mar; 35(1): 4–9. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Adjustment Disorder. American Psychiatric Association. 2013. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. (DSM-5) American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Facts for Families: Attachment Disorders. Vojdani A, Thrasher JD. Cellular and humoral immune abnormalities in Gulf War veterans. Environ Health Perspect. 2004;112:840–6. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar] McKeown-Eyssen G, Baines C, Cole DE, Riley N, Tyndale RF, et al. Case-control study of genotypes in multiple chemical sensitivity: CYP2D6, NAT1, NAT2, PON1, PON2, and MTHFR. Int J Epidemiol. 2004;33:971–8.[PubMed] [Google Scholar] Da Costa JM. 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by Mohammad Shazaib on Aug 29, 2020

Equivalent in folk traditions?

In folk traditions there is a health disorder commonly referred simply as "fright" or "fright disease". It happens after a person (in most cases a child) gets very scared of something and later symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, waking up from sleep and screaming, seeing things that are not objectively there, wanting to run away from home, repeatedly recalling the event, etc., occur. Sometimes symptoms are physical, like burning sensation in the chest. Symptoms may last from few days to several months. There are also specific folk treatments associated with it. I heard about this since childhood, but most of the information about it I received while doing ethnographic field research and conducting interviews with local people myself in Eastern Europe. Some folk concepts of disease simply disappear not finding place in theoretical basis of western medicine, or because of changes in environment, social situation, etc., and at first I thought that's what happened with fright disease, but then I remembered PTSD and it bares close resemblance, although many details are different, the main being age group that is affected and severity of the event, also PTSD is more associated with trauma than fear, but it's the closest equivalent as far as I know. The strange thing, which I found to be interesting to think about, is that folk traditions, again - as far as I know, lack "fright illness" or any equivalent to PTSD for adults and that children's fright illness (or at least its concept) disappears in contemporary urbanized territories, even though there's nothing magical about it as stress is widely accepted as having numerous psychological and physiological effects. Also PTSD term and definition are quite recent, coined out in a second half of 20th century, which gives an impression that one concept disappears and another appears almost simultaneously.

by Povilas S on Aug 31, 2020

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