He avoids traveling and meeting outsiders. His sleep patterns have become irregular and James is often was found sleeping during day-time. Sometimes he cries for no reason and appears emotionally disturbed. The concerned family members have brought him to the psychiatrist for evaluation and management.
The problem James is suffering from is post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. PTSD is defined as "a pathological anxiety that usually occurs after an individual experiences or witnesses severe trauma that constitutes a threat to the physical integrity or life of the individual or of another person" (Gore and Lucas, 2008). PTSD is the abnormal end result of a powerful and overwhelming stressful incident. It is a serious condition that can lead to personality changes, illness, and if it is ignored, may end with the person’s suicide. It occurs when people cannot work through their normal reactions and recover from the terrible experience. They get “stuck” and life for them is changed forever. There is high prevalence of PTSD and other psychiatric impairments in many emergency personnel. This is because of failure to cope with primary and particularly secondary stress in their daily work. This problem, together with the individual psychological consequences and expenses related to work absenteeism and early retirement, seems to be very specific for these professions (Wagner, 1998).
Symptoms of PTSD most often begin within three months of the event and last up to 6 months. Some may suffer even longer. The severity and duration of the illness varies from person to person. Symptoms of PTSD can be grouped into three main categories: Re-living, Avoiding and Increased arousal.
Re-living: Personnel with PTSD repeatedly re-live the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma through flashbacks, hallucinations and nightmares. They also may feel great distress when certain things remind them of the trauma.
Avoiding: The personnel may