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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA

FREE INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF MOLDOVA


FACULTY PSYCHOLOGY, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
PSYCHOLOGY DEPARTMENT

REPORT
POST - TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

Presented by: Rotaru Ruslan, gr. 11 P

Course held by: Bolfosu Andrei

CHIINU 2014

Plan:

1. Definition.
2. Symptoms.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Causes.
Tests and diagnosis.
Risk factors.
Complications.
Coping and support.

1. Definition.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event
either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe
anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while, but
they don't have PTSD with time and good self-care, they usually get better. But if the symptoms get
worse or last for months or even years and interfere with your functioning, you may have PTSD.
Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reduce symptoms and
improve function.
2. Symptoms.
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within three months of a traumatic event, but
sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant
problems in social or work situations and in relationships.
PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative
changes in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions.
Intrusive memories
Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event

Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)

Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event

Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event
2

Avoidance
Symptoms of avoidance may include:

Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event

Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood


Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

Negative feelings about yourself or other people

Inability to experience positive emotions

Feeling emotionally numb

Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed

Hopelessness about the future

Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event

Difficulty maintaining close relationships

Changes in emotional reactions


Symptoms of changes in emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior

Always being on guard for danger

Overwhelming guilt or shame

Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast

Trouble concentrating

Trouble sleeping

Being easily startled or frightened

Intensity of symptoms
PTSD symptoms can vary in intensity over time. You may have more PTSD symptoms when you're
stressed in general, or when you run into reminders of what you went through. For example, you may
hear a car backfire and relive combat experiences. Or you may see a report on the news about a sexual
assault and feel overcome by memories of your own assault.

3. Causes.
You can develop post-traumatic stress disorder when you go through, see or learn about an event
involving actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violation.
Doctors aren't sure why some people get PTSD. As with most mental health problems, PTSD is
probably caused by a complex mix of:

Inherited mental health risks, such as an increased risk of anxiety and depression

Life experiences, including the amount and severity of trauma you've gone through since early
childhood

Inherited aspects of your personality often called your temperament

The way your brain regulates the chemicals and hormones your body releases in response to
stress
4. Tests and diagnosis.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is diagnosed based on signs and symptoms and a thorough psychological
evaluation. Your health care provider will likely ask you to describe your signs and symptoms and the
event that led up to them. You may also have a physical exam to check for medical problems.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, you must meet criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association. This manual is used by mental
health providers to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.
DSM criteria for PTSD
Diagnosis of PTSD requires exposure to an event that involved or held the threat of death, violence or
serious injury. Your exposure can happen in one or more of these ways:

You experienced the traumatic event

You witnessed, in person, the traumatic event

You learned someone close to you experienced or was threatened by the traumatic event

You are repeatedly exposed to graphic details of traumatic events (for example, if you are a
first responder to the scene of traumatic events)

You experience one or more of the following signs or symptoms after the traumatic event:

You relive experiences of the traumatic event, such as having distressing images and memories.

You have upsetting dreams about the traumatic event.

You experience flashbacks as if you were experiencing the traumatic event again.

You experience ongoing or severe emotional distress or physical symptoms if something


reminds you of the traumatic event.

In addition, for more than one month after the traumatic event you may:

Try to avoid situations or things that remind you of the traumatic event

Not remember important parts of the traumatic event

View yourself, others and the world in a negative way

Lose interest in activities you used to enjoy and feel detached from family and friends

Feel a sense of emotional numbness, feel irritable or have angry or violent outbursts

Engage in dangerous or self-destructive behavior

Feel as if you're constantly on guard or alert for signs of danger and startle easily

Have trouble sleeping or concentrating

Your symptoms cause significant distress in your life or interfere with your ability to go about your
normal daily tasks.
For children younger than 6 years old, signs and symptoms may include:

Reenacting the traumatic event or aspects of the traumatic event through play

Frightening dreams that may or may not include aspects of the traumatic event
5. Risk factors.

People of all ages can have post-traumatic stress disorder. However, some factors may make you more
likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic event, such as:

Experiencing intense or long-lasting trauma

Having experienced other trauma earlier in life, including childhood abuse or neglect

Having a job that increases your risk of being exposed to traumatic events, such as military
personnel and first responders

Having other mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression


5

Lacking a good support system of family and friends

Having biological (blood) relatives with mental health problems, including PTSD or
depression

Kinds of traumatic events


The most common events leading to the development of PTSD include:

Combat exposure

Childhood neglect and physical abuse

Sexual assault

Physical attack

Being threatened with a weapon

Many other traumatic events also can lead to PTSD, such as fire, natural disaster, mugging, robbery,
car accident, plane crash, torture, kidnapping, life-threatening medical diagnosis, terrorist attack, and
other extreme or life-threatening events.

6. Complications.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can disrupt your whole life: your job, your relationships, your health and
your enjoyment of everyday activities.
Having PTSD also may increase your risk of other mental health problems, such as:

Depression and anxiety

Issues with drugs or alcohol use

Eating disorders

Suicidal thoughts and actions

7. Coping and support.


If stress and other problems caused by a traumatic event affect your life, see your health care
professional. You also can take these actions as you continue with treatment for post-traumatic stress
disorder:

Follow your treatment plan. Although it may take a while to feel benefits from therapy or
medications, treatment can be effective, and most people do recover. Remind yourself that it takes
time. Following your treatment plan will help move you forward.

Learn about PTSD. This knowledge can help you understand what you're feeling, and then
you can develop coping strategies to help you respond effectively.

Take care of yourself. Get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, exercise and take time to relax.
Avoid caffeine and nicotine, which can worsen anxiety.

Don't self-medicate. Turning to alcohol or drugs to numb your feelings isn't healthy, even
though it may be a tempting way to cope. It can lead to more problems down the road and prevent
real healing.

Break the cycle. When you feel anxious, take a brisk walk or jump into a hobby to re-focus.

Talk to someone. Stay connected with supportive and caring people family, friends, faith
leaders or others. You don't have to talk about what happened if you don't want to. Just sharing
time with loved ones can offer healing and comfort.

Consider a support group. Ask your health professional for help finding a support group, or
contact veterans' organizations or your community's social services system. Or look for local
support groups in an online directory or in your phone book.

When someone you love has PTSD


The person you love may seem like a different person than you knew before the trauma angry and
irritable, for example, or withdrawn and depressed. PTSD can significantly strain the emotional and
mental health of loved ones and friends.
Hearing about the trauma that led to your loved one's PTSD may be painful for you and even cause
you to relive difficult events. You may find yourself avoiding his or her attempts to talk about the
trauma or feeling hopeless that your loved one will get better. At the same time, you may feel guilty
that you can't fix your loved one or hurry up the process of healing.
Remember that you can't change someone. However, you can:

Learn about PTSD. This can help you understand what your loved one is going through.

Recognize that withdrawal is part of the disorder. If your loved one resists your help, allow
space and let your loved one know that you're available when he or she is ready to accept your
help.

Offer to attend medical appointments. If your loved one is willing, attending appointments
can help you understand and assist with treatment.

Be willing to listen. Let your loved one know you're willing to listen, but you understand if he
or she doesn't want to talk.

Encourage participation. Plan opportunities for activities with family and friends. Celebrate
good events.

Make your own health a priority. Take care of yourself by eating healthy, being physically
active and getting enough rest. Take time alone or with friends, doing activities that help you
recharge.

Seek help if you need it. If you have difficulty coping, talk with your doctor. He or she may
refer you to a therapist who can help you work through your emotions.

Stay safe. Plan a safe place for yourself and your children if your loved one becomes violent or
abusive.

THE LISTS OF THE LITERATURE


1. Eth S.; Pynoos R. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Vashington: American Psychiatric Press,
1985.
2. Everly G.S.; Lating J.M. Psychotraumatology. Key Papers and Core Concepts in PostTraumatic Stress. New York: Plenum Press, 1995.
3. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Accessible on-line: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseasesconditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/basics/complications/con-20022540