Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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“Part of the torture is that the burden of guilt feels unending because you cannot undo the past” (Matsakis 119). In the book, Survivors Guilt by Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph. D, where Matsakis depicts what and why living with PTSD is unbearable. Matsakis explains that guilt is the root of PTSD. There is a never ending list of things to be guilty about after leaving a war, mainly; wishing you could get the health back of the injured, get back the lives that were taken and closure with soldiers you thought could have been saved. If the thoughts of these things could have closure and be let go, the survivor’s guilt would be surrendered. The quote, “Guilt demands punishment” (119), explains in such simple terms of why the root of PTSD is guilt. If the guilt is released, then the negative thoughts, feelings of hatred, anger and “what ifs” would all disappear. Addiction and abuse are two common disorders that people often inherit while attempting to coupe with their PTSD. Alcoholism and drug abuse are brought on by the tremendous amounts of stress and guilt felt when suffering from PTSD. “The anxiety and physiological arousal (adrenaline reactions) created by feelings of survivor guilt can play a major role in the origin and perpetuation of any form of addiction” (Matsakis 121). The high and numbness that is associated with alcohol and drugs gives a short term relief from the guilt and pain felt from PTSD. After the short term relief is worn off, the veterans suffering often feel

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