Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a disease of the mind, affecting a sizeable portion of the population. One in ten of the population will suffer from PTSD within their lifetime. Symptoms include hallucinations, flashbacks, senility, and suicidal tendencies. Cases of PTSD are often seen in the ranks of militaries involved in combat roles. Constant awareness and attention are required to identify cases of PTSD before the affected individual can be treated correctly.The History of PTSDPost Traumatic Stress Disorder is the current definition to a state of mental instability caused by traumatic events. Traces of PTSD can be traces back hundreds of years of human history, back to even the Epic of Gilgamesh.
In the section “Ishtar and Gilgamesh, and the Death of Enkidu”, when Enkidu, the dear friend and closest ally of the protagonist, King Gilgamesh, dies from illness, Gilgamesh mourns for a week. Then, after giving his friend to the earth, Gilgamesh wildly roams the lands, in search for the secret of immortality (The Epic of Gilgamesh). This Epic offers a very brief insight into the first ever tale of PTSD recorded. It is mentioned again, under a different name, during the American Civil War, as “DaCosta’s Syndrome” (Saperstein).Once more, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder manifested itself within the minds of soldiers, when the conflict of World War I began.
With the new forms of warfare, came new forms of psychological damage. The term “shell shock” became the new name, a moniker taken from the new implementation of artillery weapons within the war (Harvard). With the development of medicine accelerating with the industrialization of mankind, newer understandings on the mental damages began to take hold. With the introduction of World War II, shell shock and DaCosta’s Syndrome was rebranded as “combat neuroses”, and once more as “combat fatigue” after the events of the Korean War (Harvard). It was not until 1980, when the informal names were given a proper term of PTSD.The Emergence of PTSDAccording to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD has a chance to form during or post-involvement to ” a potentially traumatic event that is beyond a typical stressor” (NIMH). Such activators could involve violent interactions or conflicts, disasters involving the weather of hidden processes of the Earth, events caused by human intervention, or near-death experiences. PTSD does not have to be linked to conflict, but the majority of cases are reported from soldiers.
A study of the prevalence of PTSD within the population of the United States, conducted within the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS) during the late 1980s, showed that nearly 28% of all of those involved in conflict were or have suffered from PTSD within their lifetimes (Epi of PTSD). However, civilians are not immune from the chance of suffering from PTSD. As the world becomes more dangerous, the risk of large scale attacks at home become more and more noticable. One of the largest attacks on American soil was launched on September 11, 2001.
As two passenger jets impacted with the World Trade Center, and a third collided with the U.S. Military headquarters, the Pentagon, thousands of lives were lost. As the tragedy became known to all, a chance to gauge the risk of PTSD was given to researchers. Starting on September 14 of that year, a two day sample showed that over 85% of the sample population suffered from one or several symptoms of mental stress, and half of those assessed had severe symptoms of PTSD (Harvard). A similar study was conducted in the aftermath of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Of those assessed, one in five individuals suffered from sleeplessness (Harvard).Symptoms of PTSD, and Ways To Help Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a disability with several active symptoms and triggers. Oftentimes, those who suffer from PTSD will have a change of behavior. This includes insomnia, fatigue, headaches, and general timidness. Isolationism happens often as well, not only from conversing about the subject, but from other activities the entity took part of previously.
Severe cases describe the victim re-living the traumatic experience, oftentimes to a surreal degree. How to help these victims is often simple, sometimes complex. Conversation about the event is critical; the more one confronts the issue, the easier it is to move past the event. Medicinal methods can also be used, to lessen stress on those who suffer from the event, or to reduce input from the environment around them. Oftentimes, if the subject is treated properly, the effects of PTSD will lessen, and possibly ease out of the mind.
If possible, professionals will be able to assist in a greater capacity than someone untrained.CONCLUSIONPost Traumatic Stress Disorder has been found within the history of humankind for thousands of years, yet only in the past two hundred has it become common enough to be identified. Soldiers, nurses, adults, children: all can suffer from PTSD, regardless of direct interaction with a traumatic event, or indirect. Oftentimes, the symptoms of PTSD can be identified as hypertension, isolation from others, and re-experiencing the event. Treatments, if carried out correctly, can help ease and reduce the effects of PTSD, sometimes to the point of remission.