A paper I wrote about PTSD

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20 Jul 2019 18:51 #340530 by Matsun Ismaren
So lately I know I have been slacking a bit on my studies here for the Temple, but I have been swamped with classes. I am so close to getting my degree in psychology which I plan on making it into a Dr. so I can help those who suffer from trauma related mental disorders. With that being said I wanted to share a paper I just wrote for one of my psychology classes in an attempt to help bring awareness to PTSD and some of the effects it has on an individual. I am looking for thoughtful discussion on the topic and also reaching out to anyone who reads this and needs someone to talk to please PM me. Please be respectful in your replies to people who suffer from this and lets look to help those in need out!

Abstract
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological disorder that is derived from experiencing a traumatic event. This disorder has been mainly studied as a mental health disorder and recently acknowledged to be a biological one. Throughout the years of studying this disorder there has been findings of correlations between traumatic brain injuries and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. This report takes a look at the studies that reveal the biological effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and how it alters the brain in a physical manner. All in all, post-traumatic stress disorder impacts the mind not just psychologically but physiologically as well, and this paper will be utilizing neurological scans and there results to support the findings.
Literature Review
Post-traumatic stress disorder is something that is brought on by a person who experiences a traumatic event. This is most common in military members, first responders, and veterans because they are more likely to experience traumatic events that can affect their mental health. However, this is not exclusive to people in these career fields and can happen to anyone who experiences something traumatic. According to the Mayo Clinic a person who has post-traumatic stress disorder experiences symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event (Mayo Clinic, 2018). These symptoms eventually become debilitating to the individual who is experiencing them and make it seem almost impossible to be treated. However, there is not only psychological effects from this disorder but there are also physiological effects that are derived from this disorder as well. As with many mental disorders this one directly affects the brain and progresses the longer it is untreated. The first signs and symptoms most people experience when suffering from this disorder is hypervigilance (commonly associated with paranoia) and uncontrollable mood shifts throughout the day. These individuals may also experience forms of anxiety and depression as they may feel guilty for what occurred or that something might happen again.

The study of how post-traumatic stress disorder physically impacts the brain is still fairly recent and continuously discovering new links and correlations between the two. When looking at recent neurological images of people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder there are three main regions of the brain that are affected by this disorder. The main regions of the brain that are affected by post-traumatic stress disorder are generalized as the amygdala, hippocampus, and the prefrontal cortex (Henigsberg, Kalember, Petrovic, & Secic, 2019). When the person experiences this trauma and is forced to relive it throughout their lives by memories and other forms of triggers it causes these regions of the brain to fire and send signals that are related to the fight-or-flight process within our brain. For example, when a person experiences a flashback related to the traumatic event that brought on this disorder the memory systems within the brain (hippocampus and amygdala) react differently then they would if an individual is recalling a different memory. What happens in this case is when a flashback starts to happen the fight-or-flight system within us kicks in and causes the amygdala to overactivated and subsequently the hippocampus is suppressed (Chi, 2019). This is different then a regular recall because both the amygdala and the hippocampus are responsible for different memories and how they are processed which allows us to remember what happened and stay safe. The amygdala’s main job is responsible for the emotional side of memory to include the fear ridden memories to help keep us safe. Whereas, the hippocampus is responsible for storing the memories as they occurred. Like previously stated when a flashback occurs the balance between the two is vastly skewed and the individual experiences the emotional memory more then the actual memory that took place. This is important to consider because when an individual experiences more of the emotional side then both they tend to forget various details or it makes it hard for them to process the memory in another light that could help them resolve the experience and help them heal from it. Where the prefrontal cortex comes into play is when a person is experiencing a flashback and being overloaded with the emotionally charged recall they tend to act on their emotions that are being experienced. The prefrontal cortex has many functions and contributes to a lot of things, but the ones that are directly impacted by this disorder when experiencing a flashback are the abilities to regulate emotion, complex planning of cognitive behavior, the ability to control impulses, and focusing attention (Goodtherapy.com, 2015). These tasks that are controlled by the prefrontal cortex become inhibited because of the activation of the fight-or-flight system, which subsequently causes a person to not be able to control their emotions or focus on certain things. This is crucial in the steps of healing from post-traumatic stress disorder because a person who is limited to what they can and can’t do because of the biological effects this disorder has on the brain makes it incredibly hard to process and heal from the traumatic event.

With that being said, there are a lot of misconceptions about this disorder and in turn makes it harder on the individual who has it. Some of these misconceptions include post-traumatic stress disorder as mental weakness and one should get over it, only military veterans experience post-traumatic stress disorder, and this disorder can only happen immediately after the event (Ptsdalliance.org, 2019). The problem with the first misconception mentioned with this disorder is that it is not a sign of mental weakness, because people process and handle various stressors differently and there are many things that affect the level of severity. These stimuli that could bring on this disorder vary from the severity of the traumatic event all the way down to personality traits and the way our mind releases chemicals to process the stress that is brought on through the traumatic event(s). Most people can handle various levels of stress brought on by negative events and some can handle things better then others, but the ability to recover from this disorder quickly or not has nothing to do with the persons mental strength. One thing to consider when thinking about this misconception is that when an individual is going through a problem it is the biggest thing that has happened to them in that moment, and even if it seems insignificant to another it is not. It is important to know that each person has their own problems and they are just as important as another’s problems, which makes it impossible to compare the mental strength of an individual because of how they handle their issues. The second misconception discussed above is that not all suffers of post-traumatic stress disorder are military veterans. This misconception is usually brought on because a large amount of people who have this disorder are in fact military veterans, but they also include people who have experienced other forms of trauma. Some of these common non-military related scenarios that bring on this disorder are survivors of natural and man-made disasters, people who have experienced a horrendous crime, parents who have lost a child, and the list could go on. Post-traumatic stress disorder is not limited to combat related events, but anything that could be considered a traumatic event. For example, on September 11, 2001 when the Twin Towers where attacked many of the onlookers experienced some level of post-traumatic stress disorder as they viewed the event either in person or via the news, and this is not even to count for the first responders who where on scene during this event. So, to think that this disorder is limited to military personal both active and not completely discredits those who suffer from it by other scenarios. The third misconception listed above about how symptoms from this disorder only arise immediately after the event takes place is incorrect as well. The reason being is that symptoms often become apparent about three months after the event, but sometimes they could even take years to surface in an individual. Another thing to take into consideration is that the symptoms from this disorder could also vary in the sense that sometimes a person is continuously affected by them until treatment is rendered or they come and go in waves. This makes it hard to for an individual who suffers from this disorder to identify and seek treatment, because often times it is very confusing and seems to be other mental disorders. There are many other misconceptions about this disorder because it is still being studied and not a lot of people really understand what it is about, but these are the three most common misconceptions about it.

All in all, according to research post-traumatic stress disorder is not only a psychological disorder but a biological one as well. In order to effectively treat it there must be a shift in methods to acknowledge the biological side of it as well, other wise only half of the disorder will be treated leaving the patient not fully healed from their symptoms. There are also many misconceptions about this disorder because even though it has been around for a while it is just recently being focused on and discovered. This disorder is completely treatable, but it needs to be treated in a manner that fits all of the symptoms both psychological and physiological.


References

Chi, T. (2019, July 08). What Happens in Your Brain During a PTSD Flashback? Retrieved from www.talkspace.com/blog/happens-brain-ptsd-flashback/

Henigsberg, N., Kalember, P., Petrović, Z. K., & Šečić, A. (2019). Neuroimaging research in posttraumatic stress disorder – Focus on amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 90, 37–42. doi-org.ezproxy.umuc.edu/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2018.11.003

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (2018, July 06). Retrieved from www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/p...-causes/syc-20355967

Prefrontal Cortex. (2015, August 18). Retrieved from www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/prefrontal-cortex

PTSD Myths or Myths of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.ptsdalliance.org/common-myths/



Thank you for reading this paper I wrote and again I look forward to the thoughts of the community and how we could possibly bring more awareness to it. My life goal is to become a therapist for those who suffer from disorders like this one and to also provide assistance to our warriors who suffer from this but can't afford it free of charge. As someone who is diagnosed with this I wan't to share to anyone else out there that you are not alone and if you need someone please PM me! Also if you know someone who may suffer from this please reach out to them and offer help, they may not want it but just support and love them and let them know someone is there for them. Lastly, I wanted to wrap this up with bringing awareness to the 22 veterans a day who take their life from battling this disorder and main like it. Thank you all for your time and I look forward to the thoughts and ideas of you all who read this and comment.

Respectfully,
Matsun Ismaren

Do or do not. There is no try! -Yoda
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20 Jul 2019 23:24 #340539 by Rex
Replied by Rex on topic A paper I wrote about PTSD
Nice succinct read. Did you get this published?

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TM: Carlos Martinez
ὁ δὲ ἀμυχηδόν νεξέταστος βίος γίγνομαι βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ
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21 Jul 2019 00:07 #340540 by Matsun Ismaren
Rex,

I did not this was my applied final project I had to write for my biological basis of behavior class I am in. I wrote this earlier today and felt the need to share, but haven't considered trying to do that.

Do or do not. There is no try! -Yoda
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21 Jul 2019 00:55 #340541 by lightscribe
Thank you for sharing your studies! If you'd like another avenue to explore in regards to trauma-based disorders, I highly recommend studying dissociative identity disorder (formerly multiple personality disorder). It's a area of personal interest for me, so I'm happy to recommend some resources if you're interested.

Today, I will do my best. My best is all that I can do. And sometimes, my best will surprise me.
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21 Jul 2019 09:06 #340546 by Matsun Ismaren
Lightscribe,

I have touched on DID in my other classes and have some general knowledge on it, but always welcome to learn more! If you have some other information about it please feel free to share!

Do or do not. There is no try! -Yoda
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21 Jul 2019 11:41 #340547 by steamboat28
If you decide to publish this--or even just get it thrown together in a pdf, epub, mobi, word doc, tortoise shell engraving, whatever--let me know. Please. So many people in my life need something like this.
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22 Jul 2019 10:01 #340563 by Matsun Ismaren
Steamboat28,

Just screenshot it and send it to them or what have you bud! You can also PM me if you want/need and we can chat about things. Let me know always here to help!

Do or do not. There is no try! -Yoda
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