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Psycology » Psychiatry and psychotherapy » Neurosis: Part I » Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

This term refers to an intensive and usually prolonged reaction to strong stressors such as natural disasters

(Eg, earthquakes, floods, fires), disaster caused by people (the effects of war or persecution), or violent acts committed against this man and associated with serious danger or insult the person (robbery or rape). In accordance with the traditional approach of post-traumatic stress disorder, as opposed to acute stress reactions or adaptation, can be diagnosed and those who have a history of mental illness recorded to stressful events.
Considered the term used when the reaction is characterized by recurrent painful dreams or intrusive memories of traumatic events experienced in conjunction with the desire to avoid anything that may cause memory happened, and with symptoms suggestive of increased excitability (eg, irritability, insomnia, difficulty concentrating ). Some people talk about the inability to remember these events as they wish (despite bright intrusive memories at another time), about the feeling of insensitivity, detachment, and a decrease of interest in daily activities.


This type of prolonged response to severe stress factors has been known for many years. Interest reawakened lately to this issue, in part was the result of conducted surveys in the United States servicemen returning from the Vietnam War. Previously, when a similar clinical picture observed in the soldiers used the term Combat neurosis. A similar effect associated with exposure to disasters in peacetime repeatedly been described in the literature, for example, in a report on the consequences of a fire in an American nightclub Coconut Grove (Coconut Grove) (Adler 1943).
Believe that PTSD is more common in children and in the elderly than in other periods of life, and those who had suffered from mental illness are more likely than those without such pathology (Andreasen 1985).

In many disaster victims receive physical injury, and this may increase the likelihood of long-term psychological reactions, especially in the case of a head injury.

Reactions usually develops shortly after the stressful event, but sometimes it appears with a delay of several days, and sometimes for a longer period of time.


Most patients recover not later than six months, but quite common cases where the disorder is not held for years. Since under certain stressful events may receive injury, the process of evaluation of the patient should include an appropriate neurological examination, as well as a careful study of the personal characteristics and previous psychiatric history. With priority (emergency) treatment prescribed anxiolytic drugs and provide an opportunity to give vent to emotions. In the future, use supportive psychotherapy and vigorously encourage the patient to resume normal activities.

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