Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Working in the field of Emergency Response I have seen and felt first hand the effects of posttraumatic stress disorder. It is not possible to respond to emergency after emergency and not be subject to some of PTSD’s effects. When I saw this topic in the list I felt compelled to use this opportunity to learn more. My hope is by increasing my knowledge, of a disorder so prevalent in my career field; I can recognize the symptoms in others and myself before there effect becomes devastating.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD as it is more commonly referred to, is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as an anxiety disorder. (American Psychological Association.) It has specific criteria that need to be met in order to be
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Surprisingly it has been shown that women are twice as likely to suffer from PTSD, as are men. (Norris, Fran H.) It is has been suggested that the reason for this discrepancy is that women have a higher instance of being exposed to a qualifying traumatic event. Age also seems to play a role. It seems that as the age of a demographical group increases the likelihood for PTSD decreases.

Treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder is possible. The current treatment of PTSD encompasses several types of psychotherapy combined with a medication regimen. Cognitive therapy is one type of therapy used to combat PTSD. The goal of cognitive therapy is to allow the patient to slowly experience feelings, thoughts, and events associated with the trauma in a controlled setting. This allows the PTSD sufferer, to categorize the traumatic feelings associated with the event and assign a more positive meaning to them. Thus providing a coping mechanism. Another school of thought places the therapeutic focus on gradually exposing the PTSD sufferer to elements of the trauma. The goal is to desensitize the patient to the traumatic event. This allows the patient to resume a normal life. One other form of therapy used in treatment of PTSD is EMDR. EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a form of exposure therapy that places the emphasis on guided eye movements. The theory is that the movements help retrain how the brain reacts to memories of the traumatic event. Success has

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