Posttraumatic Stress Disorder - Description






At one time, a condition known as "shell shock" was common among men and women who had been through battle. The condition was also known as battle fatigue. These individuals experienced flashbacks of battle. Memories of the event could totally disrupt their lives. In some cases, they were affected so severely that they were unable to function in everyday life.

Today, we know that this condition is caused by a number of factors, including rape, robbery, a natural disaster, or a serious accident. People who are diagnosed with a serious disease often have the same symptoms. A better name for the condition, then, is posttraumatic stress disorder. That is, a person experiences severe feelings of anxiety following some major disruption in his or her life.

Benzodiazepine:
A drug used to control the symptoms of anxiety.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy:
A form of counseling designed to help patients understand the basic nature of their disorder and to find ways of confronting and dealing with the disorder.
Flashback:
A sudden memory of an event that occurred months or years earlier.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs):
A class of drugs used to reduce depression.

People of all ages can be affected by PTSD. Even children who experience sexual or physical abuse or who lose a parent to death may develop PTSD.

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