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Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that is triggered by an overwhelmingly traumatic event.  While we are all vulnerable, not everyone experiencing terrifying or painful events develops this debilitating condition.  Who is likely to acquire posttraumatic stress disorder?  This post-traumatic stress disorder research paper will examine a number of studies whose experimental evidence suggests a significant correlation between childhood abuse and the increased probability of developing post-traumatic stress disorder following a traumatic event later in life.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder was once considered a disorder primarily affecting veterans of war.  It is now understood that PTSD can affect any individual exposed to a traumatic event.  These events are diverse and include but are not limited to physical assault such as rape, kidnapping or torture, natural or man-made disaster, vehicular accidents or military combat.  Acts of terrorism, school shootings, and mass executions during ethnic warfare can also be counted among the many traumatic events an individual might experience in our world today.

Distinguishing symptoms of Post-traumatic stress disorder and diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder can be found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (1994), published by the American Psychiatric Association.  This manual contains a listing of psychiatric disorders and their corresponding codes as well as each disorders diagnostic criteria, related features, prevalence, differential diagnosis, etc.

According to the DSM-IV, posttraumatic stress disorder is the development of distinctive symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic incident.  It may develop in an individual who has experienced an event that involves death or threatened death, serious injury or some other threat to one’s physical well being or that of another.  This disorder can also develop in individuals who have witnessed or learned of a physically or psychologically distressing event.  The individual’s response to the event is one of intense fear, helplessness or horror.

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