Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
The Aftermath of Trauma

People respond to traumatic events in their own way and according to their individual coping skills and available support systems. Research on the impact of trauma on various populations indicates that the great majority of those not immediately and personally affected by a terrible tragedy sustain no lasting damage. Most of those involved in witnessing or being a part of devastating events are able, in the long term, to find ways of going on with their lives with little change in their capacity to love, trust, and have hope for their future.

People can develop PTSD when, out of necessity, they react to and survive traumatic events by emotionally blocking them during and after the trauma. This allows the experience to dominate how they organize their lives, and often causes them to perceive subsequent stressful life events in light of their prior trauma. Focusing on the past in this way gradually robs their lives of meaning and pleasure.

The description and symptoms of PTSD go all the way back to Ancient Greece. However, it was not until 1980 that the cluster of symptoms classified as a mental illness after the suffering of Vietnam War veterans was incorporated into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association.

The severity of the impact of trauma depends on the age and development of the person and the source of the trauma, i.e., whether the trauma was relational and caused by a close other, someone outside the family, a natural disaster, or war, etc.

Three Elements of PTSD

The core issue of PTSD is that certain sensations or emotions related to traumatic experiences are dissociated, keep returning, and do not fade with time. People with PTSD…

Read More

Trama Continuum

It can be helpful to look at the experience of trauma and the associated impact as being on a continuum.

Read More

Search Results