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Ptsd Essay

1410 words - 6 pages

LIVING WITH PTSD: THE WOUND THAT NEVER HEALS
by C. J.
On a cool September day in 2007, my entire life changed. That day I shot and killed a young man as he attempted to break into my home. The incident took place on a Friday afternoon, and the perpetrator subsequently died in the hospital two days later. My family and friends were there to help me through the ordeal but life soon returned to normal for them. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about my own life. My immediate reaction was a combination of sadness, anger, guilt, fear, and shock about what had happened. Being a US Air Force veteran, I took part in Desert Shield/Desert Storm and never had to pull a gun on anyone. I never ...view middle of the document...

The little trust I had in people was challenged. I was what they call “a hot mess.” This thing we call “life” had turned upside down and inside out, but I had nowhere to run and no one to run to. The stress eventually manifested itself in the form of a complete nervous breakdown. I found myself in the hospital diagnosed with severe depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly known as PTSD.
Being a veteran I was very familiar with PTSD, yet like most people, I mainly contributed this disorder to war and the military. Even though I served during war time, I never had to initiate violence nor was I exposed to it on a grand scale. I never had to fire a single shot yet I experienced the same exact thing as soldiers who fought on the front line. Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD notes that “although PTSD was first brought to public attention in relation to war veterans, it can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as muggings, rape, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes (2009). It can affect any of us at any time in any situation. Perfect examples can be seen in survivors of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, as well as victims of sexual abuse. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD affects about 7.7 million American adults, but it can occur at any age, including childhood. Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, and there is some evidence that susceptibility to the disorder may run in families. PTSD is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or one or more of the other anxiety disorders (2007). Barbara Bjorklund, MD, in the Journey of Adulthood, states that gender, age, and the experience of chronic racial discrimination often contribute to the incidence of PTSD cases (p. 312). Untreated PTSD can have devastating, far-reaching consequences for sufferers' functioning and relationships, their families, and for society. Individuals who suffer from this illness are at risk of having more medical problems, as well as trouble reproducing. Emotionally, PTSD sufferers may struggle more to achieve the same outcome from mental health treatment as that of those with other emotional problems. Bjorklund informs us that the physical stress responses in patients with PTSD are different than those of a normal person—the hormone levels are different, and different areas of the brain are involved (p. 311). In children and teens, PTSD can have significantly negative effects on their social and emotional development and ability to learn.
Not every traumatized person develops full-blown or even minor PTSD. Symptoms usually begin within 3 months of the incident but occasionally emerge years afterward. They must last more than a month to be considered PTSD. The course of the illness varies. Some people recover within 6 months, while others may have chronic symptoms that can last forever, such as in my case....

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