Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


Post-TraumaticStress Disorder

Post-TraumaticStress Disorder

Exposureto traumatic events such as bizarre accidents, rape, war and otherlife threatening events is associated with the development of amental disorder known as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Thisdisorder is characterized by varied symptoms including the relivingof the shocking event, nightmares and disturbing thoughts which maybe accompanied by mental and physical stress characterized bysweating, increased heart rate, headaches, diarrhoea, muscle pains,depression as well as general change in behavior and social life.These symptoms must have persisted for at least one month in orderfor the person to be considered as suffering from PTSD (NationalInstitute of Mental Health, 2016).Studies done regarding to this disorder indicate that most people whohave undergone assault related trauma are more likely to developPTSD. This includes victims of rape, child abuse, torture, robbery,terror activity and warfare and to a lesser extent, accidents andnaturally occurring disasters although substance abuse has also beenassociated to co-occur with this mental disorder (AmericanPsychiatric Association, 2013).This disorder can be prevented or treated by the application ofcounselling sessions as well as provision of medication such asantidepressants.

Hightempo careers that cause PTSD

Mostjobs are quite stressful based on the different attributes thataccompany the job description. Pressure from the boss or employee,working for extra hour, presence of deadlines, traffic jams as wellas financial constraints can form part of the causes of stressfulsituations albeit non-traumatic. There are however other job careerswhich expose the personnel involved to certain conditions andcircumstances which may prove to be traumatic to them and hencecontribute to the development of s.Examples of these careers that may involve routine exposure to anenvironment that contains death, horrifying incidents as well asdisability include the Fire fighters, Rescue workers, police officersand other Law enforcement officers and ambulance personnel. Among allthese careers, Soldiers are more often than not highly likely todevelop post-traumatic stress disorders.

Inmost countries, Law enforcement officers are form the docket of thegovernment which ensures that Law and order has been followed. Theseofficers’ jobs include the maintenance of peace, chasing downrobbers, arresting law breakers, as well as providing generalprotection to the citizens among other specific job descriptions.This therefore means that these officers are likely to be exposed tocertain events or incidents that may be considered traumatizing.Whether these events have been experienced once or repeatedly overtime, the inability to be able to put up with the accumulatingeffects become too much to handle and it is therefore estimated thatclose to a fifth of all active law enforcement officers are actuallysuffering from PTSD (Kulman,2015).Takethe example of a grizzly accident which happens on the freeway, or ahomicide. Sometimes it may be robbery or murders, kidnapping andterrorist activities. All these scenarios are witnessed first-handand multiple times by the officers and it is their duty to face suchevents head on. With regard to this revelation, the law enforcementofficers have seen the dead bodies on the scenes of accidents, theyparticipate in the removal of the same, and they also sometimes haveto kill armed robbers or law breakers on instances where it isabsolutely necessary to do so in addition to the uncovering of casesthat involved previous murders that involve exhumation. The list ofthe traumatizing events may be endless and it is therefore right toacknowledge that law enforcement officers are affected by PTSD andthe fact of the matter is that they do not receive adequate supportwith regard to treatment (Scharff,2015).Whether these events have been experienced once or repeatedly overtime, the inability to be able to put up with the accumulatingeffects become too much to handle at times culminating to highsuicide rates in the police department (Kulman,2015).

Secondin line are the fire fighters who also experience high leveltraumatic encounters which may range from burnt bodies of differentdegrees, disfigurations, the cries of anguish from burn victims,collapsing buildings, battling with the flames and bomb explosions byterrorists resulting to mass loss of lives eventually surmounts topsychological stress and disorders. In a scenario that has been setout involving a fire, sometimes the fire fighters can do nothing tosave victims who may be trapped within the fire engulfed buildingexcept to battle the fire immediately. Such events may remain withinthe hearts of the fighter possibly the feeling that people died andthey couldn’t help them. Similar to the police, accumulation ofthese events may culminate to PTSD and thus lead to poor judgment(Herbert,2015).In addition to these events, there has been a behavior common to thefire fighters which involves keeping these feelings and emotions deepinside. The lack of sharing the experiences with the trusted peopleincluding friends and family also contributes to the development ofPTSD (Meroney,2013).

Surprisinglyenough, Emergency medical Technicians are at a higher risk ofdeveloping PTSD. This may be attributed to the high number ofoccupational hazards as well as the intensity of exposure which hasbeen reported to range from 80-100% thus putting the chances of PTSDclose to 40%(Siebert, 2009).Similar to other careers, the symptoms of post-traumatic stressdisorder do not begin immediately following a traumatic event butrather takes some time sometimes up to several months after theevent. In addition EMTs are exposed more often than the fire fightersand law enforcement officers since their expertise is required inalmost all accidents as well as other events such as transportationof the dead and injured. Furthermore, the EMTs are also involved inthe administration of the required emergency care services to thosewho are in critical conditions. This job characteristics pull them toa closer proximity to the traumatic conditions. It has beendocumented that the risk of EMTs developing PTSD is about 25 timeshigher than that of the general population. This phenomenon is bestexplained by the high number of suicide cases by EMT personnel whichis accompanied by increased alcohol intake as well as substance abuse(Erich,2014).

Medicaldoctors and Nurses are not left out in the careers associated withPTSD. Doctors are usually on the front line of healthcare provision,taking part in the diagnosis, treatment and even surgery. They aretherefore in a one-on-one level with the patients hence witnessingtheir pain, loss, suffering and discomfort. Medical practitionershave to deal with circumstances regarding death, disability anddespair. One can almost imagine a surgeon struggling to save the lifeof a child, only for the child to pass away during the procedure, theresponsibility falls at the hands of the surgeon and furtherincreased when he has to inform the otherwise hopeful parents aboutthe happening. This is just a single illustration of many more andtougher experiences these medical practitioners have to go throughevery day in their line of duty. While doctors focus their serviceson treatment, nurses are concerned with the actual provision of careto the patients and the presence of PTSD is quite common in nurseswhich is usually accompanied by burnout syndrome. A whopping 14% ofthe general population of nurses is estimated to be having PTSD andthese could be attributed to a host of factors including long workinghours, handling patients with disfigurations and dismembered bodyparts for example burn victims and accident victims or patients withcertain diseases like leprosy among others. In the medical field PTSDhas been associated with several negative effects that may compromisethe health of the nurse or doctor as well as the health of thepatients(Hood, 2011).

Post-TraumaticStress Disorder is not limited to careers that bring people closer totraumatic events. On the contrary, it may also involve workplacerelationships including bullying, pressure and exhaustion. Abuse thatcontinues for a long time may eventually graduate from embarrassmentto psychological disorders. Such events that may cause stress includemistreatment, verbal abuse, and offensive conduct such as physicalassault or sexual harassment, blackmail, threats, intimidation andsabotage. Long term exposure to such events will most likely lead tophysical and psychological conditions on the affected worker. Thiscan in turn lead to low productivity, distorted judgment and poorworkplace relationships(Mitchell, 2011).

Lastbut most important are the veterans of war. Post-Traumatic StressDisorder was first associated with veterans of war especially afterthe Vietnam War. It was only until later that the disorder wasobserved to affect other people in different careers. Combat is themain happening that takes place during war. However we cannotentirely equate the experience in a war with that of the careersalready discussed above. In the other careers, the people work tocounter the harm, however in war, it is the soldiers who actuallycause the harm to the enemy. This is not the only traumatic event.The lives of the soldiers are at risk. The damage inflicted by theenemy can be experienced first-hand by the affected soldier as wellas the friend or comrade fighting alongside. It is quite clear thatwe cannot fully comprehend the nature of this war experience exceptby actual participation. We can only so much imagine the intensity ofthe happening, explosions all over and bullets wheezing past. At theend of the day, bodies lie all over the battle ground. Some are dead,others badly wounded. The sight is dreadful even to imagine. Finallyon the arrival to the home country, the wounded have to endure thetraumatic experience of loss of limbs through amputation. We cannotalso forget prisoners of war who are captured by the enemy. Storieshave been told of the mistreatment, torture and even murder of thosewho have been captured. To this, add the lack of communication withthe loved ones specifically family and friends and this translates todevelopment of PTSD even after deployment (Veteransand PTSD, 2015).

Withregard to veterans, the symptoms of PTSD include the re-experiencingof events where sights or sounds are associated to events thathappened during the war, avoiding situations that ignite flashback tothe traumatic happening, keeping away from relationships, spontaneousanger, fear or irritation, mood swings, negative changes in thoughtpossibly due to the guilt, shame and persistent fear and sometimeshyper arousal mainly characterized by overreaction in certainsituations and emotional reactivity. In addition, veterans with PTSDcommonly have alcohol problems as well as substance abuse,hopelessness and despair. All these characteristics make thetreatment of veterans difficult to deal with since they do not easilyopen up. However, qualified psychiatrics can be of help in theprovision of counselling and other related services to help in thetreatment (Smith,2016).


Inmost cases, job advertisements do not always describe thepsychological risks related to these jobs including Post-TraumaticStress disorders. In addition, most of the departments highlighted donot provide substantial information regarding the mental health ofthe personnel with respect to traumatic experiences. This has led tothe neglecting of this condition hence the rise in the number ofpeople affected. It is imperative therefore to offer occupationalservices which may include counselling as well as medication toprevent and/control the development or progression of this disorder.Special focus should be directed to the people in the careershighlighted above but not limited to the same. The fight against PTSDcan be further achieved through widespread education on theidentification of symptoms related to the disorder as well asproviding a listening ear, encouragement and support to all who havebeen affected and their families.


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