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PTSD

About Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Author| Ben Bobrow, MD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur from any traumatic event whether witnessed or experienced.

Symptoms may include flashbacks of the event, nightmares, anxiety attacks and uncontrollable and intrusive thoughts. These symptoms can lead to depression, isolation, hyper-irritability, withdrawal and a feeling of helplessness.

It is not uncommon for some soldiers exposed to chronic or repeated exposure to battle situations to develop PTSD, while others do not develop PTSD. As such, it begs the question as to why some individuals exposed to trauma exhibit no apparent disability while others will develop symptoms.

Similarly, healthcare workers, first responders (such as police, fire, EMS, etc.), social workers and Child Protective Investigators are chronically exposed to traumatic events, but must “push through” to provide their necessary services. Similarly, some of these professionals develop PTSD while others of their colleagues seem not to.1,2 Why?

No one treatment is known to “cure” this disorder. However, new diagnostic equipment has led to an understanding of how the brain reacts and responds to trauma. This insight provides clinicians with a number of new tools to address the complex problems associated with PTSD and trauma in general.3,4,5


References

  1. Pulido, M; Lacina, J (Fall 2010). Supporting Child Protective Services (CPS) Staff Following a Child Fatality and Other Critical Incidents. APSAC Advisor, p.16-22.
  2. Marmar, C, et al (2006). Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress in Police and Other First Responders. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci 1071: 1-18.
  3. Briere, Jn, Scott, C (2013) Principles of Trauma Therapy: a guide to symptoms, evaluation, and treatment. Sage Pub.
  4. Scaer, R (2001). The Neurophysiology of Dissociation and Chronic Disease. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 26(1), 73-91.
  5. Van Der Kolk, et al. (2007). A Randomized Clinical Trial of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Fluoxetine, and Pill Placebo in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Treatment Effects and Long-Term Maintenance. J Clin Psychiatry 68:0.