Posttraumatic Stress

Stress is a state of mental, physical or emotional tension that is caused by external factors, better known as stressors. These stressors vary in their derivation and nature. Some of them could have an internal source. A good instance of internal stressor is a deficiency of self-confidence that a person may face while doing some work. A stressor could even be external in its origin. A student feeling 'tensed' due to his exams is an example of external pressure. These stressors can have an effect on a person in changeable proportions and for different periods. Posttraumatic stress is an example of prolonged stress.

Posttraumatic stress has been recognized as body’s continued fight against the pressures causing stress. Stress may be a major factor in causing illnesses that could be fatal at times. Researchers are of the opinion that stress disrupts the body's homeostasis or the state of equilibrium, thus resulting in the weakening of the immune system. Constant degradation of the body's defense mechanism can lead to serious illnesses. Thus, stress itself is suitably recognized a medical condition. A common example of stress because of trauma is seen in soldiers post war conditions. Posttraumatic stress disorder was also known as shell shock during the First World War I and battle fatigue after World War II. Patients of PTSD complained depression, nightmares, feelings of guilt for having survived, and flashbacks of the horrific events. Some of them became sensitive to noise and some even became violent in their conduct.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can affect anyone. It is ordinarily seen in approximately 5% of men and 10% of women at some point in their lives. Symptoms of this disorder typically develop instantaneously or within the period of three months from the happening of a traumatic event. These symptoms start surfacing much later in case of many of the patients. Some common symptoms of posttraumatic stress are flashbacks, nightmares, profuse sweating, avoidance of discussing the experience, feeling of detachment from near and dear ones, decreased interest in life etc. Up until now, it has not been completely understood as to why some people develop PTSD after a harrowing experience, while others do not.

Typicality in the genetic make up that may cause some people to suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder. The hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that is responsible for memory and emotions, appears different in case of MRI scans of the patients suffering from PTSD. Researchers believe that these noticeable changes to the hippocampus area are connected to memory problems and flashbacks or painful or harrowing incidents. Studies have revealed that people suffering from PTSD, respond abnormally on a hormonal level when exposed to stress. People who perceive some sort of danger usually produce natural opiates that activate a response in the body when subjected to stress. It has been discovered that people who suffer from posttraumatic stress continue the production of high levels of these opiates even when there is no danger. This may contribute to a feeling of numbness and detachment. PSTD is a serious disorder and needs to be dealt with patience and care.

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