An Essay on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

An Essay on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

An Essay on PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that develops when an individual has been exposed to a scary or disturbing event. It occurs after single exposure to a disturbing event or continuous exposure to traumatic circumstances. These are individuals who go through intense feelings associated with their traumatic experience long after the event. Besides, these are events that can be relived via nightmares or flashbacks that can cause fear, anger, and anxiety. In the United States, over 2% of the population is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additionally, 8-9% of the US population are experiencing terminal PTSD. The prevalence of PTSD is between 1.9-8.8%, a rate that increases in regions characterized by conflict and reaches over 50% in rape survivors (Bisson, 2007). Hence, PTSD is defined as an emerging public health challenge around the globe.

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects people, regardless of culture, nationality, and ethnicity. The prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder is higher among women than men. Notably, women with individual or family history of childhood mental trauma, medical illness, or prolonged exposure to trauma are more susceptible to PTSD (Wimalawansa, 2013). The National Center for PTSD stated that the United States' frequency was 20% in women and 8% in men. Further, 30% of these people develop chronic PTSD that affects the quality of their lives. According to Iribarren, Prolo, Neagos & Chiappelli (2005), the National Center for PTSD also highlighted that under the normal socio-political conditions; approximately 8% of the American population would suffer PTSD in their lifetime. The recovery of post-traumatic stress disorder is a gradual, costly, and systematic process. The available treatment options focus on the management of the condition and coping mechanisms.

Symptoms of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder manifests differently from one person to the next. While most people will not experience the short-term impact of PTSD, many of them will also not develop chronic PTSD. As highlighted by Bisson (2007), the symptoms are evident within three months after the traumatic situation. Besides, they could last more than a month or become severe enough to affect your relationships or work. Consequently, the recovery period could be within six months, and the symptoms could last longer if the disorder is chronic. The symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder are first, intrusive thoughts such as flashbacks, distressing dreams, and involuntary memories. These intrusive thoughts could feel like an individual is reliving the ordeal.

Second, negative emotions are a symptom of PTSD. For instance, the negative thoughts and feelings entail ongoing horror, fear, shame, or guilt about the circumstances. Further, an individual tends to lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed. Next, avoidance is evident among individuals who have experienced PTSD. People will try to avoid places, people, or situations that remind them of the event. According to Bisson (2007), most people will avoid talking about the event or expressing their emotions. Finally, reactive symptoms include angry outbursts, irritability, and the adoption of self-destructive ways. These are common symptoms that manifest in the majority of patients who have encountered a traumatic situation.


Medical professionals and researchers are yet to discover the main cause of post-traumatic stress disorder. The development of this condition is characterized by a mix of stressful experiences, mental health conditions, personality traits, and the body's response to any form of external stress (Bisson, 2007). In this regard, the magnitude of the trauma directly impacts the risk of PTSD. Moreover, aspects such as financial difficulties, lack of social and family support, and inappropriate coping mechanisms are some of the causes of PTSD. Hence, despite that, the causes of this disorder are unknown; physical, genetic and psychological factors are prevalent.

Types of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

This stress disorder affects everyone regardless of their age, status or nationality. As highlighted by Wimalawansa (2013), exposure to an unpleasant situation results in different reactions. The different types of post-traumatic stress disorder include a normal stress response, which is common after disturbing events. However, it will not automatically result in the development of PTSD. Second, acute stress disorder is prevalent among individuals who have experienced a near-death experience. It develops into post-traumatic stress when it is left untreated for an extended period. 

Third, uncomplicated PTSD is associated with one primary traumatic case and is considered one of the easiest conditions to treat. The symptoms include flashbacks, irritability, and mood changes. It is treated via medication or therapy. Next, complex PTSD is triggered by a series of traumatic situations such as sudden loss, abuse, or repeated exposure to war. The majority of individuals with complex post-traumatic stress disorder are also diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Finally, comorbid post-traumatic stress is common among people with more than one mental health issue. This disorder is prevalent in the community since people tend to suffer from more than one condition.

Therapy and Treatment

The primary treatment options for people with PTSD are psychotherapy and medications. According to the Food and Drug administration, sertraline and paroxetine are medicines that have been approved in the treatment of PTSD in adults (Alexander, 2012). These are depressants that are beneficial in controlling PTSD symptoms such as anger, worry, and sadness. The prescribed medications are serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), which are effective when used alongside therapy. On the other hand, psychotherapy seeks to address the underlying issues that have triggered the PTSD. This ensures the patient goes through the recovery process gradually by confronting the various triggers. Hence, the treatments will be customized to address everyone's unique needs.

In conclusion, post-traumatic stress disorder affects an individual’s social, physical, and economic well-being. Over the years, it has become a common wellness issue due to high rates of exposure to these traumatic situations. In this case, addressing the issue before it escalates is the recommended approach to facilitate productivity and general happiness


Alexander, W. (2012). Pharmacotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder in combat veterans: focus on antidepressants and atypical antipsychotic agents. Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 37(1), 32.

Bisson, J. I. (2007). Post-traumatic stress disorder. Bmj, 334(7597), 789-793.

Ghaffarzadegan, N., Ebrahimvandi, A., & Jalali, M. S. (2016). A dynamic model of post-traumatic stress disorder for military personnel and veterans. PloS one, 11(10), e0161405.

Iribarren, J., Prolo, P., Neagos, N., & Chiappelli, F. (2005). Post-traumatic stress disorder: evidence-based research for the third millennium. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2.

Wimalawansa, S. J. (2013). Causes and risk factors for post-traumatic stress disorder: the importance of right diagnosis and treatment. Asian J Med Sci, 5(2), 29-40.


Published on: 28 Aug 2020

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