PTSD symptoms can be clustered into intrusive symptoms – flashbacks reliving traumatic experiences, avoidant symptoms – withdrawal from possible triggers (place, event, people) of traumatic experiences, and hyperarousal – the feeling of being threatened always occurring as insomnia, irritability, extreme startle response. Nevertheless, PTSD is curable. Effective treatment to PTSD is a combination of psychoanalysis – a therapy that deals with the patient’s unconscious and repressed memories, and drug therapy. SSRIs are the first line of medication approved by the US FDA as it was proven effective to decrease anxiety, depression, and panic reducing aggression, impulsivity, and suicidal thoughts in patients.
a. Features: PTSD is a complex disorder, classified as anxiety disorder (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder par.1) or emotional disorder (Dryden-Edwards 1). DSM-IV-TR described it a “normal reaction to abnormal events” (qtd. in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder par.1), wherein terribly threatening experiences like rape, military combat, torture, genocide, extreme disasters, etc. have disrupted the patient’s memory, emotional reactions, mental processes, and nervous system (PTSD par.1-2; Dryden-Edwards 1), making PTSD a unique psychiatric disorder, since its diagnosis depends on factor/s outside the victim – a deviance from psychiatry’s general emphasis on factors internal to individuals (PTSD par.2).
b. Symptoms: DSM-IV-TR identified six criteria symptomatic of PTSD: (1) Traumatic stressor – patient’s exposure to life-threatening horrifying experiences; (2) Intrusive symptoms – flashbacks reliving traumatic experiences; (3) Avoidant symptoms – withdrawal from possible triggers (place, event, people) of traumatic experiences; (4) Hyperarousal – a threatened feeling always occurring as insomnia, irritability, extreme startle response; (5) Symptom duration – one month