definition-“ a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world.”

“What might be physical/noticeable characteristics of this disorder? “There are other associated symptoms of PTSD: Panic attacks: a feeling of intense fear, which can be accompanied by shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, nausea, and a racing heart. Physical symptoms: chronic pain, headaches, stomach pain, diarrhea, tightness or burning in the chest, muscle cramps, or low back pain.” A Physical charactristic of PTSD could be depression and

What are potential risk factors that may lead to this illness - “causes” of the disorder? “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, Lacking a good support system of family and friends, Having biological (blood) relatives with mental health problems, including PTSD or depression “

Are there certain “types” of people who are prone to this illness and if so, why? “PTSD affects some 27 percent of soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Congressional Research Service, while the suicide rate among male veterans is quadruple that of civilians. Those figures only include soldiers who sought help through VA hospitals, suggesting the actual numbers are higher. For all the hand-wringing now going on at the top levels of the Pentagon, we understand relatively little of the neuroscience behind PTSD. Is it “combat exposure”—suffering and perpetrating the quotidian atrocities of war—that leads veterans to unravel once they’re back home? Or might some soldiers simply be predisposed to emotional distress?”

What are prevention suggestions and strategies pertaining to this disorder? (Hint: Look at risk factors/causes, can you prevent the severity of the disorder, can you prolong the age of onset, etc.) “Getting support can help you recover. This may mean turning to family and friends who will listen and offer comfort. It may mean seeking out a mental health provider for a brief course of therapy. Some people may also find it helpful to turn to their faith community. Getting timely help and support may prevent normal stress reactions from getting worse and developing into PTSD. Support from others may also help prevent you from turning to unhealthy coping methods, such as misuse of alcohol or drugs.”

What are the common warning signs/symptoms that may lead you to believe someone may be suffering? “PTSD mirrors other mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, and can also present as “I feel fine” when really, the “feeling fine” rooted in numbness and avoidance. I have PTSD as a result of sexual abuse that was perpetrated on me throughout my childhood. Child sexual abuse and sexual assault are very common crimes, yet they are so stigmatized that they receive very little attention in the media from a mental health perspective. It’s easier to report on a brave soldier coming home from war with flashbacks of violence than it a mental health perspective. It’s easier to report on a brave soldier coming home from war with flashbacks of violence than it

How is this illness specifically treated (medication name, symptoms treated, etc.)? Is it curable? How? “A type of counseling called cognitive-behavioral therapy and medicines known as SSRIs appear to be the most effective treatments for PTSD. Treatment can help you feel more in control of your emotions and result in fewer symptoms, but you may still have some bad memories.”

What is the science behind this illness? What does the research say about the physiology or the psychology of this disorder - what’s going on inside the body to cause this? “There are three brain structures that play key roles in the science behind PTSD. They are the amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. The amygdala is the stress evaluator. ... The prefrontal cortex is the large part of the brain sitting right behind your forehead”

How can you help a friend who may be suffering from this disorder? Is there a way to “help” yourself?

“1. Don't pressure your loved one into talking. ...

2. Do “normal” things with your loved one, things that have nothing to do with PTSD or the traumatic experience. ...

3. Let your loved one take the lead, rather than telling him or her what to do. ...

4. Be patient. ...

5. Educate yourself about PTSD.”

List at least 5 statistics pertaining to your illness. (National, state, city, school, etc., how many people this illness affects, teenage stats vs. adult stats, men vs. women, differences between races, etc.) “70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. This equates to approximately 223.4 million people, 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. This equates to approximately 223.4 million people, An estimated 8% of Americans − 24.4 million people − have PTSD at any given time. That is equal to the total population of Texas., An estimated one out of every ninewomen develops PTSD, making them about twice as likely as men., People with PTSD have among the highest rates of healthcare service use. People with PTSD present with a range of symptoms, the cause of which may be overlooked or misdiagnosed as having resulted from past trauma.”

What are common myths and the respective facts pertaining to your disorder? “MYTH: PTSD only affects war veterans.

FACT: Although PTSD does affect war veterans, PTSD can affect anyone. Almost 70 percent of Americans will be exposed to a traumatic event in their lifetime. Of those people, up to 20 percent will go on to develop PTSD. An estimated 1 out of 10 women will develop PTSD at some time in their lives.

Victims of trauma related to physical and sexual assault face the greatest risk of developing PTSD. Women are about twice as likely to develop PTSD as men, perhaps because women are more likely to experience trauma that involves these types of interpersonal violence, including rape and severe beatings. Victims of domestic violence and childhood abuse are at tremendous risk for PTSD.”

Have you discovered any other important or interesting facts? Facts about the history of the illness or the medication used to treat it, famous people who suffer from the illness etc. Many people who experience an extremely traumatic event go through an adjustment period following the exposure. Most of these people are able to return to leading a normal life. However, the stress caused by trauma can affect all aspects of a person’s life including mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Research suggests that prolonged trauma may disrupt and alter brain chemistry a traumatic event changes their views about themselves and the world around them. This may lead to the development of PTSD.

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