Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Situational Events to Trigger PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a trauma-related disorder many people suffer regularly. The reason for this disorder affecting one in fourteen adults (Ford, 2009) is that PTSD can be caused by any terrifying event that a person experiences or witnesses. A person starts suffering from nightmares, flashbacks, and the inability to forget. Sometimes, it is possible to treat a patient with PTSD. Sometimes, it is hard to choose the most effective therapy. And sometimes, people just cannot develop a proper plan of care for such patients. The first thing that hat to be done is the analysis of the situational events to trigger PTSD.

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Many people of different ages have witnessed or even experienced the events that led to loss, frustration, fear, etc. (Krippner, Pitchford, & Davies, 2012). PTSD may be caused by a real or threatened death, sexual violence, injuries, natural disasters, or war. Any of these events causes an emotional breakdown as a result of which a human brain has to regulate many chemicals and hormones developed by stress. Not many people can cope with stress. They have to survive under the conditions they do not like. They try to make the solutions they do not want.

Clinical Manifestations of PTSD

Because PTSD is a frequent type of disorder due to the current natural, social, and even political troubles, it is very important to understand its clinical manifestations and know how to treat them properly. The experts have to “catch the traumatic spark before it burns and emotionally scars” (Stein & Lang, 2013, p. 692). PTSD symptoms can be identified in one day, in one week, or even in several years after the event. Patients with PTSD may have intrusive memories in a form of nightmares, flashbacks, dreams, and unpredictable physical reactions to something that can remind them of the event. Other signs are as follows: sleeping disorders or disturbed sleep, anxiety or fear, appetite problems, depression, or spontaneous crying. All these symptoms may take place separately or in groups. Nurses and doctors have to define them in a short period and think about the possible treating methods to help overcome the challenges of the disease. It is better to recognize the problems and solve them soon. As a rule, patients are offered to take tests and check their mental condition (Vieweg, Julius, Fernandez, Beatty-Brooks, Hettema, & Pandurangi, 2006). They have to answer some questions, and nurses have to follow their reactions. Sometimes, it is hard to define the psychological problems of patients with PTSD. Still, the tests and personal observations are usually the only available methods to analyze a patient, who has survived an event that can lead to PTSD.

Treatment and Therapies

The primary goal of any PTSD therapy and treatment is to help a patient to gain control over life and understand the outcomes of all actions and decisions made. One of the primary treatments for a patient with any stage of PTSD is to pass through psychotherapy. Besides, doctors may prescribe some medications to facilitate the treating process or make a patient more ready for recovery. Psychotherapy usually helps to understand the essence of life, choose the options available, learn how to cope with anxiety and depression, and avoid using drugs or alcohol. Therapies can be of different types: cognitive therapies focus on thinking processes, and exposure therapies help to imagine the events and survive them. Patients may pass through these therapies separately or combined. A patient may be treated in groups and discuss the problems aloud or choose private conversations to focus on personal problems only.

Along with the therapies, it is possible to use some antidepressants like Prozac or Zoloft. Though this group of drugs helps to overcome depression and anxiety, it can influence the physical condition of a patient and cause some problems with sexual life. Some mood stabilizers can be also offered to patients. Usually, old people are eager to use this kind of medication. Of course, nowadays, people may get access to a variety of medications and therapies in regards to their physical conditions, level of PTSD, and intentions to survive the problems. Doctors have to make independent decisions relying on their professionalism and experience.

Plan of Care

A woman has suffered from sexual violence. She was going home when a stranger attacked and raped her. She addressed ED and got the required help as soon as she was examined. Psychotherapy has to be offered for the woman. It is necessary to:

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  1. Provide the patient with enough evidence that she is in a safe place, and that no one can hurt her right now.
  2. Explain the fact that everything is over, and now, it is better to focus on recovery.
  3. Define the goals in regards to which it is possible to continue living (children’s well-being, social support, communication, work, parents, etc.).
  4. Start communicating privately to discuss the issues that bother the patient.
  5. Not to remind you about the events.
  6. Offer group therapy to share her experience with other victims and find common themes for discussion.


Ford, J.D. (2009). Posttraumatic stress disorder: Scientific and professional dimensions. New York, NY: Academic Press.

Krippner, S., Pitchford, D.B., & Davies, J. (2012). Post-traumatic stress disorder. Santa Barbara, CA: ACB-CLIO.

Stein, M.B. & Lang, A.J. (2013). What’s impeding post-traumatic stress disorder prevention? American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(6), 692-693.

Vieweg, W. V., Julius, D. A., Fernandez, A., Beatty-Brooks, M., Hettema, J.M., & Pandurangi, A.K. (2006). Posttraumatic stress disorder: Clinical features, pathophysiology, and treatment. American Journal of Medicine, 119(5): 383-390.

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