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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Basic Information

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

This topic center concerns mental and emotional problems people experience in the wake of 'trauma', where trauma is understood to refer to an event involving being a victim of or witness to atrocity, violence, true horror and/or the death of another or near death of ones self. Examples might include rape, murder, torture, accidents, terrorism, etc. DSM describes two trauma disorders: acute stress disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder, both of which you may read about in the links to the left of this document. In a nutshell, acute stress disorder occurs in the time frame between just after exposure to a traumatic event to six months later, and posttraumatic stress beginning at the six month point and extending thereafter.

All forms of post-trauma response are typically characterized by the presence of three classes of symptoms. First, the post-trauma victim typically experiences intrusive memories of the traumatic event. Intrusive recollections may occur during waking hours or sleep (in the form of repetitive vivid recreation nightmares involving the trauma). Second, the post-trauma victim makes efforts to avoid exposure to anything that might cause them to recall the trauma they experienced. Third, the post-trauma victim typically shows an exaggerated startle response and heightened anxiety levels. As a result of these sorts of symptoms, experienced on a consistent basis day in and day out, PTSD (as posttraumatic stress is called) can be a very debilitating c...

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