The dramatic increase in the number of victims of emergencies, accidents, wrongful acts, and serious conflicts has led to a rise in the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among the population. The psychological consequences of the trauma experience are of concern to the global psychological community. Recent years of research proved that many aspects of this critical problem of clinical and social psychiatry are far from being resolved. The study of PTSD may have a quantitative and qualitative basis and is, therefore, the subject of evidence-based studying. This research paper aims to discuss the phenomenon of PTSD and its relationship to evidence-based medicine.
For the time being, there is no generally accepted theoretical concept explaining the etiology and mechanisms of origin and development of PTSD. Nevertheless, as a result of many years of research, several views have been established that allow a more in-depth assessment of the phenomenon of psychological consequences of trauma. PTSD is a delayed reaction of an individual to a psychologically traumatic event and an emergency, based on which disorders of vital activity can arise (Shalev et al., 2017). Identification is linked to the discovery of a range of symptoms in a patient that signals a mental problem. Specifically, researchers classify several main groups of symptoms within post-traumatic pathology (Shalev et al., 2017). First, it is over-excitement, including vegetative lability, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and intrusive memories. Second, periodic seizures of depressive mood and despair, and, finally, these may be features of emotional response, paralysis, and nervous shivering. Even though no one is immune from PTSD, a particular risk group is represented by people in active contact with threats: military and medical personnel.
There is a general perception among the public that victims may have their resources for recovery, which they find through books and articles based on the principles of combating PTSD. Nonetheless, the results can only be achieved through the psychological support of a licensed professional. Psychological aid includes work with displays of grief with the help of joint support groups for people and removal of phobic reactions through traumatic images therapy. However, a special place in the system of psychological support to patients belongs to mainly created evidence-based methods. In 2017, the American Psychological Association released a considerable collection of correction guidelines based on an extensive systematic review (Watkins et al., 2018). One of the organization’s proposals was prolonged-action therapy, which aims to change the structure of fear to prevent destructiveness. In other words, the researchers demonstrate that fear can have both positive and negative effects on a person. Prolonged-action therapy works with memories of trauma and delayed post-traumatic reactions. It is worth noting that this type of correction is a long process and may last for several years.
Another type of treatment for PTSD is based on the hypothesis that after the trauma, the individual is prone to forming false impressions and associations. According to Bryant et al. (2019), when describing trauma-related memories, the patient defines negative thoughts, while the psychotherapist helps to question these connections. The American Psychological Association considers that the fragments of a problematic event in the patient’s memory can be adapted and reconstructed by the individual (Watkins et al., 2018). The therapist points to thinking errors that support negative beliefs, which result in the patient becoming aware of the absence of guilt or inability to do anything at the time of the traumatic event.
In conclusion, PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by a traumatic incident. A large proportion of the world’s population is exposed to this condition, but the disorder is most commonly observed in the military and medical professions. PTSD can be caused by terrorist acts, accidents, acts of violence, sexual attacks, close people’s diseases, and serious conflicts. The diagnosis of the disorder is based on identifying characteristic symptoms in the patient. Psychotherapists have turned their attention to evidence-based methods of correction, resulting in the publication of a set of guidelines.
- Bryant, R. A., Kenny, L., Rawson, N., Cahill, C., Joscelyne, A., Garber, B., & Nickerson, A. (2019). Efficacy of exposure-based cognitive behaviour therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder in emergency service personnel: A randomised clinical trial. Psychological Medicine, 49(9), 1565-1573. Web.
- Shalev, A., Liberzon, I., & Marmar, C. (2017). Post-traumatic stress disorder. New England Journal of Medicine, 376(25), 2459-2469.
- Watkins, L. E., Sprang, K. R., & Rothbaum, B. O. (2018). Treating PTSD: A review of evidence-based psychotherapy interventions. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 12(1), 1-9. Web.