Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Effects and Treatments

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The eminent psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Hoch, in his classic treatise on differential diagnoses in the field of psychiatry made the observation that symptoms of anxiety and depression were components of every major psychiatric disorder (Hoch, 1972). People without psychiatric disorders also experience episodes of anxiety which is typically defined as a diffuse, unpleasant, and sometimes vague sense of apprehension; however, anxiety disorders, psychological disorders whose main component is anxiety and lead to significant disruptions in a person's everyday functioning, are among the most prevalent psychiatric conditions in the world (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2000). Moreover, there is abundant empirical evidence that anxiety disorders when left untreated may increase the risk of cardiovascular-related disorders and other health concerns (APA, 2000). Therefore it is important to be able to distinguish the proper anxiety disorder diagnosis and initiate treatment. One of the most disabling of all the anxiety disorders is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a syndrome that develops after a person is involved in, sees, or hears of a severe and extreme traumatic stressor. The person reacts to the stressor helplessness, fear, avoidance of things that remind them of the event, and may persistently relive the event (APA, 2000). PTSD is a disorder that is often associated with combat veterans, but can also be experienced by civilians undergoing extreme
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