"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Anxiety" is a great example of a paper on the disorder. Anxiety can be defined as a set of psychological and physiological conditions which may arise in any individual because of disturbances in his normal brain functions. Anxiety Disorders have been largely noticed in adults as around 25% of the adults are considered to be suffering from this disorder. Anxiety gives a sense of worry, panic, fear and distress to an individual if faced by it. But on the other hand, anxiety is a sense of feeling faced by everyone at one time in his lifetime and so it is very important to distinguish between the normal levels of anxiety and the pathological levels of anxiety.
This can be distinguished clearly if one analyzes the levels of distress faced by the individuals in their life and the effect of this distress on the normal behaviours of that individual (NIH 1995). Anxiety disorders can be of many types which need to be diagnosed properly to know as to which type of disorder the person is facing. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is one type of anxiety disorder faced by some individuals.
It occurs in people who have faced a dangerous situation in their life previously and that dangerous situation repeats itself again and again in the mind of those people. This type of anxiety disorder occurs in people in whom these events come back causing fear and horror. Individuals suffering from the disorder experience the events of the trauma in their mind again and again and a specific stimulus takes place in order to avoid the trauma from taking place.
The disorder can be acute or chronic depending upon the time period of the symptoms shown by the individual. One may ask the question as to what really is a trauma that would cause this disorder. The DSM IV states that trauma is any event which involves death, threat or injury to anyone involved and the reaction of the person involves fear and horror. The symptoms of the disorder Anxiety disorders may be Psychodynamic which means that their internal state of mind would not be stable enough and his impulses and instincts may conflict to cause the distress faced by him.
It can also be faced as part of previous experiences which are faced by the person again in his life. This is a part of the learning process of the individual and he may not be able to forget those previous events which caused malfunctioning of his brain functions. And at times it may also be felt by individuals who are mentally disturbed by the environment in their house. It is even suggested that anxiety disorders in individuals occur because of the abnormal functioning of the neurotransmitters in the brain.
GABA receptors are known to play an important role in the normal functioning of the brain and if they are disturbed the individual may face from an anxiety disorder. And lastly, problems with the normal functioning of the body may also cause anxiety in the individual. These can be problems related to gastrointestinal tract, lung diseases, cardiovascular problems or brain disorders (THOMAS 2008). The symptoms of Post Traumatic Disorder are divided into three broad categories of re-experiencing, avoidance and arousal.
These three categories clearly show that a person is suffering from this disorder. Re-experiencing is a category which includes intrusive thoughts about the trauma in the form of nightmares, flashbacks or other reminders. The category of avoidance includes features which help in avoiding the trauma by doing different actions. The person would not like to visit the places or individuals which remind him of the trauma and would have a decreased rate of pleasure in anything which he previously used to enjoy. The category of arousal includes symptoms like a sudden awakening, shivers, anger, irritability and some sleep problems.
Headache, dizziness, paranoia and substance abuse are common problems associated with the disorder. Depression and suicidal thoughts are markedly prominent in the people suffering from this disorder (Nutt 2003). Post-traumatic stress disorder can be caused by psychological trauma, physical trauma, endocrinal disturbances and anatomic disturbances in the nervous system. Physical trauma and psychological trauma are the main causes of post-traumatic stress disorder. Any incidence which can be life-threatening like wars, sexual assault, accidents and calamities may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Trauma causes the increased release of adrenaline which affects the brain and the effects of the increased release of adrenaline continue which leads to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Disturbance in the anatomy of certain areas of the brain which is caused by any type of trauma may result in post-traumatic stress disorder. Studies show that disturbance in the prefrontal cortex, amygdala and hippocampus which are seen in head injuries in wars can cause post-traumatic stress disorder. Amygdala stores emotional memories and any disorder in the structure of amygdala can arouse the memory of the trauma.
Genetics also plays a role in resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder (Nutt 2003). Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder which can be treated by relieving the symptoms that the patient may be suffering from. Physiological and drug therapies are both proposed for the cure. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of physiological treatment option which is proposed to be the most effective in treating the disorder. This treatment option proposes different options through which the people can be talked out of the symptoms.
This cognitive behavioural therapy is based on different principles which help the patient to explore their thoughts accordingly and face them so that their symptoms can be relieved. The therapist helps the upsetting thoughts to come again and again so that the patient can get used to them. Similarly, talk therapies are also recommended which help to vent out the problem faced by the individual in his life. These talk therapies help to relieve the individual of the tension that he is facing in his life. And another therapy which is related to imagery and training helps to reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
It helps the child to get used to the problems he is facing in life and reduces his responses in reply to specific stimuli (Kendall 1992). Family therapy is another type of cognitive behavioural therapy which is used for people suffering from this disorder. This therapy approaches the family to talk out the patient of the problems that he is facing. It helps the family to communicate better and get over the problems that they may all be facing together.
Family therapy is especially useful because Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is believed to be a genetic disorder which runs in the family. Thus family therapy can not only be useful for the patient only but can also be helpful for the whole family. Similarly, pharmacological treatment has also been offered to patients suffering from this disorder which targets the receptors of brains. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors are prescribed to these patients so that the level of the hormone serotonin can be maintained in the body.
Alpha Adrenergic drugs are also prescribed to the patients so that the ratio of nightmares is decreased. Antipsychotics, antidepressants and anticonvulsants are also prescribed to the patients to counter different symptoms of the patients that occur in this disorder ( Springer 2011). Another treatment option is used these days is related to cognitive behavioural therapy. It is known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing in which the patients are urged to use their eye movements to get over their thoughts. These eye movements are believed to work in opening the information system of the brain.
Springer (2011, May 16). Using war games to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 3, 2011, from
National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH Publication No. 95-3879 (1995)
THOMAS, P. (2008). Post traumatic stress disorder. Diseases and disorders series. Farmington Hills, MI, Lucent Books.
KENDALL, P. C. (1992). Anxiety disorders in youth: cognitive-behavioral interventions. Boston, Mass, Allyn and Bacon.
Nutt, D. J., & Ballenger, J. C. (2003). Anxiety disorders. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Science.