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  • My presentation is on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, it’s history, how it develops, and the steps to recovery.\n
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder poses a serious problem in society today because it can disguise itself as other mental health issues and in rare cases, physical ailments. Through my application component I will prove that all parts of a persons life can be affected by this disorder but, with treatment, can be coped with.\n
  • This topic relates to my life because my aunt works at the US Department of Veterans Affairs up in University Park, right next to Penn State. She helps veterans when they come home from war, or veterans who were in past wars depending on the severity of there trauma. She helped me understand PTSD and gave me a lot of the information I used in my presentation. I stayed with her while I was working on my application up at University Park.\n
  • PTSD is a disorder in which the victim has been exposed to a traumatic event where death or serious injury is threatened. Most people who have heard of PTSD, know it as a war illness. Unknown to many, PTSD is actually a mental disorder that can develop from many different types of trauma, not just war. A normal response to PTSD is fear, a feeling of incompetence, guilt, or emotional numbness. There are more severe initial reactions to PTSD which will be covered later in the presentation.\n
  • PTSD can be traced as far back as 490 BC. Back then it was only recognized in soldiers as a type of war madness. Stories have been told of soldiers going deaf or blind after witnessing the death of fellow soldiers. Although this is one of the reactions that is more rare than others, it can still be seen in war today. Almost 2200 years later this disorder started being referred to as Nostalgia. The first description of Nostalgia described soldiers who were” homesick”. Doctors thought these soldiers were afraid they would never be able to go home for fear of death or injury.\n
  • Josef Leopold Auenbrugger wrote a book in 1761 about why soldiers become nostalgic. At this point it was still believed that home sickness was the main reason for nostalgia. Nostalgia was seen a lot more when the Civil War started. With the huge increase in deaths and injuries, more and more soldiers were developing PTSD. Doctors started seeing other issues with the soldiers they thought were just homesick which made them question the name Nostalgia. New names such as “Soldier’s Heart” and “Exhausted Heart” were given as a way of describing the constant elevated heart rate these soldiers had. \n
  • With the start of World War I more theories on what was happening to these soldiers were surfacing. New names were given to describe PTSD, such as Shell Shock and Combat Fatigue. It was called Shell Shock because doctors thought this debilitated mental state of anxiety was due to the shelling the soldiers experienced during battle. They thought that the shells were actually shocking the nervous system each time they were used. Shelling was a term used to describe the shooting of a large projectile that was filled with explosives. When soldiers started to develop symptoms of PTSD without being exposed to shelling, the experts were forced to find other possible causes of the disorder.\n
  • Finally this disorder is put into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). It is officially called Gross Stress Reaction. It describes most of the symptoms someone suffering from PTSD would show. Soldiers in World War II started to suffer from more of the rare symptoms of PTSD due to the increasingly high number of casualties. They started to freeze in battle, go deaf and/or blind which showed the disease was getting worse. These soldiers would be sent to a psychiatric hospital, but would then be sent back to active duty within two months. Two months was no where near enough time for them to recover. So they would go back and end up suffering the same symptoms over and over. At the end of WWII, PTSD was still seen as a war disease, meaning soldiers were the only ones that suffered from it.\n
  • Before Vietnam started, Gross Stress Reaction was taken out of the DSM because of all the American influences that didn’t think the US should have been in Vietnam. The writers of the DSM didn’t want any political conflicts to arise due to one mental disorder diagnosis. Because of this diagnosis being taken out of the DSM, there was no disease that could describe the Vietnam soldiers’ symptoms. This meant that these soldiers had little to no access to the health and disability benefits that most soldiers got when coming back from a war. Before Giving it the name PTSD, doctors called it Post-Vietnam Syndrome, since there was no proper or official name for it and since the name Gross Stress Reaction had been taken out of the DSM. Finally a short time after the war ended, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was put into the DSM as a mental illness. Finally the definition included traumas other then war related events.\n
  • A lot of brain structures are involved in PTSD. The amygdala are small structures shaped like almonds that control the storage of memories during emotional events, and also control fear. Damage to the Amygdala can alter normal emotional reactions. The Prefrontal Cortex is the region of the brain associated with emotion and cognitive behavior. A lot of the time the prefrontal cortex is damaged when PTSD develops, thus making it easy for affected people to suppress emotion. When the prefrontal cortex is damaged it can also lead to an uncontrollable emotional state where emotions are seemingly very random. The Hippocampus is involved in retrieving short-term and long-term memory.\n
  • Cortisol is a hormone released during stress. It functions in increasing blood sugar in the blood, breaking down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, and suppressing the immune system. Too much cortisol can have a negative effect on the brain, more specifically, the Hippocampus. Hyper-vigilance is a symptom of PTSD. It’s a constant anxiety and awareness of what is going on around you. If you have ever heard the term Fight or Flight, hyper-vigilance is an extreme form of this. Dissociation is a response to a trauma. It is your brain distancing the memory from yourself, and at the same time distancing the emotions you most use in the body.\n
  • What defines a traumatic event? Anything that threatens death or serious injury to yourself or someone around you. In the past, PTSD was only given as a diagnosis to soldiers because it was seen as a war illness. Now, PTSD is diagnosed with any type of traumatic event that leaves a person in a decreased mental state. This can be anything from war, rape, natural disasters, fires, or even car crashes.\n
  • Nervousness is one symptom, though the degree of nervousness can range from one extreme to the other. It can be seen from almost non-existent all the way to a constant state of anxiety where everything is hard to process, sleep problems are experienced, and there is a constant scanning of the area to make sure there isn’t a threat in the vicinity. Depression is seen in about 48% of all PTSD patients. People with PTSD often feel disconnected from friends, family, and the rest of the world, frequently feeling like nothing matters after the trauma.\n
  • Flashbacks are one of the most common symptoms associated with PTSD. A flashback is a re-experiencing of the traumatic event that caused the development of PTSD. This phenomenon is due to the stress put on the Hippocampus by the cortisol. This causes the memory retrieval process to get messed up retrieving memories that haven’t been fully processed (the traumatic event) and “reviewing” them. Nightmares are also very common and they are very closely related to flashbacks. Nightmares can be loosely based on the trauma or it can be an exact re-imagination of the trauma. Nightmares frequently occur with hyper-vigilance because when hyper-vigilance is a symptom, the trauma is always on your mind. And since dreams are based on the things you experience during that day, you would more likely than not dream about the trauma or something related to it. Avoidance is something almost all PTSD patients go through just because they don’t want to think about the trauma. They believe that thinking about the awful event makes their condition worse, when in reality it helps the brain process it, actually easing some of the symptoms. Emotional issues are something everyone with PTSD experiences because the brain is impaired at all times. It is always in a state of heightened arousal, making emotional triggers more prone to be activated.\n
  • A lot of the time anger is the first emotion PTSD patients turn to. This occurs because when something triggers a thought about the trauma, the person feels angry at whoever triggered it and anger at whoever caused the original trauma. They want to be able to blame someone for what happened to them, so they get angry and lash out verbally and/or physically at the closest person. Most of the time they are angry at whoever caused the trauma, or who they want to blame for causing the trauma. Anger is usually released on family, friends, or whoever is closest to the victim. The only reason these are the people they lash out at is because they are usually the ones that are closest to them.\n
  • Hyper-vigilance is an extreme form of anxiety. When you get nervous and jittery, it’s just your nervous system going into overdrive and pumping hormones into your body to speed everything up in order to get out of a bad situation. Now in most cases, this goes away after the situation causing the anxiety to end, for PTSD patients, hyper-vigilance describes an extreme form of this. Hyper-vigilance makes people feel extremely nervous at all times and causes them to constantly scan for threats in the area. The body is stuck in the fight or flight mode. One of the veterans I interviewed gave me the perfect example because it is one of his symptoms. He explained to me how he could never fall asleep because he constantly had to check the windows and make sure the doors were locked. Every little creak or crack he would hear, he would walk around the house with a loaded gun and clear every room before returning to his bed, just to sit there and stare at the door.\n
  • Dissociation is a way the brain protects itself from dangerous situations or events, or a splitting of awareness. One form of dissociation is amnesia which is a complete or partial loss of memory that comes from a traumatic event. Dissociation detaches your true emotional self from the brain and keeps it locked away so that no emotional part of the brain can be triggered easily, happy or sad. Dissociation causes people to feel detached from themselves and others. They often feel like there floating through life and just following there daily life “procedure”. This can cause flashbacks to occur more frequently because even though emotions are suppressed, when they do come up, it makes the emotional reaction much more intense and since the trigger for this emotion would have to be strong for it to surface through the dissociated brain, it’s usually a trigger that comes from the trauma.\n
  • Many people who suffer from PTSD end up abusing a substance if they don’t get help for there disease. In an attempt to escape the reality of the trauma they faced, they abuse different substances to relieve the pain or to create a different reality where they don’t have to worry about the trauma. Sometimes the brain stops experiencing emotion in an attempt to relieve the pain and stress of the traumatic event. The person usually won’t feel any emotions, good or bad, and will end up not caring what happens to themselves. Emotional conversion is another coping method. When this happens, all emotions are interpreted into anger. Sadness, irritation, and guilt are all shown as anger. This causes the anger the PTSD patient suffers to get worse because it becomes easier to trigger.\n
  • The amygdala is the part of the brain responsible for fear conditioning, which if you ever had psychology, would know is a form of classical conditioning. The amygdala uses associative learning to relate a certain trigger to fear. An example of fear conditioning is to take a rat and play a loud tone. Right after the tone is given, the rat receives some sort of shock. If this were to be repeated, eventually the rat would associate the tone with the shock and when playing the tone, the rat would get scared even if no shock was given. In PTSD patients, there is an increased activity in the right amygdala showing that the fear response in these people are overactive and are activated more frequently then the average person.\n
  • The Hippocampus is used to store and receive memories, it is sort of a filter for important and unimportant events. It’s also in charge of your ability to get past certain fears. When the trauma occurs in PTSD patients a lot of the time the Hippocampus becomes damaged which is due mostly to stress from the event. After being damaged, it becomes harder to overcome fear. Like other aspects of PTSD, the activity of the Hippocampus varies from patient to patient. On one end the Hippocampus can be under-active and the PTSD patient may not be able to remember certain parts of the trauma. On the other end, it can be over-active, and they may experience constant re-imaginations and flashbacks of the trauma.\n
  • When under a lot of stress a hormone called cortisol is released which helps get the body ready for a stressful event. Cortisol is known as one of the fight or flight hormones. The only problem is that when too much is being released, which in the case of PTSD patients is all the time because of there constant stress, the excess hormones attach to the hippocampus, killing the cells. Studies have shown that people suffering from PTSD have smaller than average Hippocampi. This is most likely the reason for the difficulties in remembering the trauma and the vivid flashbacks associated with the illness.\n
  • Most PTSD patients have a combination of these in order to get better. Getting help from a mental health professional is the most popular treatment method. This method is mostly mental therapy and trying to get the victim to accept the trauma and start to move past it. This treatment is used in most severe or long-lasting cases of PTSD. Medication is never used as a treatment by itself, it is always used in combination with other methods. The medication is usually used in order to open up other treatment options. If anxiety and depression are getting in the way of progress with therapy, medication will be prescribed to get past the symptoms. Group sessions are ways for people to get together and help each other get over there traumas. They use encouragement and support to help make each other feel comfortable. Group therapy is usually something PTSD patients go to after seeing a therapist and become comfortable enough to talk about there trauma with others.\n
  • Recovery starts as soon as you enter a therapists office, no sooner can a PTSD victim start to get better without talking to someone about there trauma who knows how to help process the information that is playing over and over in the brain. The first step to recovery is being able to think about the trauma without becoming so overwhelmed that something extreme happens such as an emotional breakdown. Once the memory is able to be recalled willingly without something else triggering it, talking to a therapist is the next step. Talking through the trauma will help the victim accept what has happened and will make the brain start processing the memory. Another major step in recovery is being able to identify and fix any expectations that are unrealistic. Usually when hyper-vigilance is a symptom (which it usually is), fixing these unrealistic expectations becomes a longer process. For example if a war veteran only fell asleep an hour or two a night because they thought that if they fell asleep the enemy would capture or kill them, the therapist would work on fixing that thought by showing how that could never happen in there own home since the war isn’t anywhere around here. During recovery, flashbacks or other symptoms might become more frequent because of the constant recollection of the event which is why therapists make there patients talk about the event bit by bit. Therapists will only go as fast as the patient wants. If the patient feels overwhelmed they can say something and the therapist will slow down and let them process the information they have talked to up to that point.\n
  • So for my application I took a trip up to University Park in Happy Valley. Earlier I told everyone that my aunt works for the US Department of Veteran Affairs. While I was up there I was able to interview some Psychologists and Therapists that work at the Department of Veterans Affairs. We talked a lot about the patients they treat there and what they see from Veterans coming back from war. I was also able to interview some of the patients being treated at my aunts office. They talked a lot about there experiences during the war and what it was like coming back home after such a terrible thing as war.\n
  • When I got to University Park, I dove right into my application and started interviewing everyone that was able to donate there time. I talked to different specialists in PTSD at the US Department of Veteran Affairs and a few from a Veterans Hospital. When talking to these specialists they gave me a lot of the common reactions people have to PTSD. The most common is emotional numbing which is when a person is unable to experience emotions that connect them to other people. Another is stress which I talked about earlier. This stress is related to the hyper-vigilance in that they are always have there guard up emotionally and physically feeling like they are always in danger. Self-medication (substance abuse) is common in PTSD patients because they want to feel completely numb to avoid any pain they might feel. \n
  • The most widely used diagnosis is the one stated in the DSM-IV. This is the book of mental health disorders I talked a little bit about earlier. The way they diagnose is by looking at the symptoms in the book and comparing them to the symptoms the patient has. There are two problems with diagnosing PTSD, one of which is judging whether symptoms are severe enough to even be called a symptom or if it’s just the persons personality. A lot of the time, the doctor will talk to the patients family because it seems like they notice the symptoms more then the patient does since they remember what they were like before and after the trauma. The other problem with diagnosing PTSD is that it all depends on what the patient tells the doctor. They might be embarrassed by one of there symptoms or they might feel like if they tell the doctor everything it will seem as though they are letting there guard down emotionally.\n
  • So the main treatment for PTSD is obviously talk therapy sessions. Without this treatment, the disease gets worse and worse until your in that constant fear, always experiencing flashbacks or nightmares over and over. My aunt talked to me about how they still have veterans coming in from the Korean War because they never got any help and it grew to the point where they couldn’t function outside there house. Once it gets this bad it’s gonna take a lot more time to recover from. Medication is usually used with these talk therapy sessions. Mostly serotonin medicines which are anti-depressants, it is also a naturally occurring chemical in the brain and is also called the “feel good” hormone, even though it isn’t really a hormone. A treatment method that isn’t seen as often is Cardiac-Coherence which is a method used to help regulate a persons heart rate. Studies have shown that this helps with symptoms of PTSD.\n
  • When someone is kept in such a stressed state of mind, the body starts to pay for it physically. The heart is constantly pumping harder then it has to which makes a person more prone to cardiac diseases. Often seen with PTSD is cardiac arrhythmia because the constant stress on the heart causes it to beat abnormally.\n
  • So when I went up to Penn State I had the opportunity to interview two war veterans, one from the Vietnam War and one from the war in Iraq. This was probably the most intense experience of my project and it gave me a really good idea of how PTSD affects a persons life. A lot of the things they told me, confirmed the things I had learned through my research and it helped give me a perspective of someone trying to cope with PTSD. During these interviews they told me about there experiences during the war and after they came back from the war.\n
  • So the first interview I had was with a Vietnam war veteran. He worked on an aircraft carrier on the flight deck. If you’ve seen Top Gun, it’s one of those big ships the jets launch off of. His triggers were heat, small spaces, and noise. It was always scorching hot out, and the noise coming from all the jets launching made things almost unbearable for him. Small spaces or enclosed spaces remind him of the carrier he was on, since it was on water he only had a set amount of space he could walk. He told me about the first traumatic thing he saw on that carrier and it was when there were two jets taking off. The one in front malfunctioned and something happened on it’s way up. The first jet dropped and the second jet ran right into it, killing all of the people inside. After that day, he started to become angrier every day, and he started to isolate himself. He described it to me as going inward towards himself and not letting anyone else close. He got to the point where he didn’t talk to anyone on the carrier and he had to request to get off of the ship before he went crazy.\n
  • One of the things we talked about was his life before he went to Vietnam. He told me how his life before and after vietnam are complete opposites. He was happy and fun to be around, a great sense of humor. He had a wife who would stay with him for five years, which was when he started to become mad all the time. Overall he had a really happy life before he went to Vietnam.\n
  • When he got back from the war, he started working at a saw mill. His anger problems affected his relationship with his wife and they could no longer communicate. It eventually ended in a divorce. This was probably one of the worst places for him to work. He was always around a lot of people screaming and doing hard manual labor. He was in an environment that was extremely noisy, and it was hot due to all the physical labor being done. His triggers were constantly set off making him extremely angry at work, always getting mad and wanting to lash out, which sometimes he did. All this time while he was working, he couldn’t get any treatment because there was none. No one wanted to help people coming back from Vietnam because they knew it was such a risky topic.\n
  • While he worked at the saw mill, his PTSD got progressively worse. One day, he snapped and almost badly injured a co-worker. He was getting angry at the people yelling around him, then someone started screaming at him and that was the last straw. He took the guy by the neck and luckily the guy didn’t fight back or he would have gotten badly injured. After that, he knew he needed to get help. He had been working there long enough that doctors had started to treat patients with PTSD.\n
  • So after his outbreak at the saw mill he decided to get some help. He started going to therapy regularly with my aunt and that helped a lot. His anger became more controllable and he started becoming social again. He just recently got re-married and talked about how a couple years ago that wouldn’t have been possible because he didn’t even want to talk to people before his treatment. Although his symptoms have gotten a lot easier to live with, he says he still thinks of that day the jet went down everyday. PTSD isn’t something that can be gotten rid of, it is always there.\n
  • The first thing we talked about was how everyday was different, there were days where everything seemed fine and he had no problems, and days where he couldn’t do anything but sit in bed and stare at his door. He talked about how there were things that would make other people extremely mad that wouldn’t bother him, but then some minor thing that wouldn’t bug most people, would set him off and he would scream like the world was about to end. He would go off into a blind rage and then just snap out of it and it would be like nothing happened. His best explanation for why he would get mad was that there was no explanation. There were no words to reason why he got so mad or why he would start to scream.\n
  • He had a lot of the same problems in High School that most kids do. He fought with his parents a lot, he wasn’t very popular at school, he was a mad teenager who was disrespectful to others. He had a couple good friends but no one that could really relate well to him. He thought the best idea after High School would be to join the marines. College wasn’t for him at the time, so he thought he could help his country by joining the marines. When he was relieved of his duties, he came home and started college. He gave me a really good idea of the problems he had in college because of how he compared himself to other students. He talked about how usually the problems college students have is, where are we gonna drink tonight, or who can get alcohol. His problems were things like this is the one year anniversary of my friend getting blown up and I need to drink because I don’t want to remember him dying. The only problems he could think about after the war was remembering his friends that had died and trying not to think about the brothers he’d lost during the war.\n
  • He said when he was in Iraq, his life was much easier because he knew exactly what to expect. He knew that he was going to be firing a gun at someone and he knew that they’d be firing back. He knew there were bombs that could go off at any second and that his life was in danger, but at least he knew what was to expect. When he came home, he had lost all touch with society and the social norms that he had no idea what to expect. He didn’t know how much danger he was in at home or if he should be afraid to go out as a veteran. When he was in the marines, he learned to convert all his negative emotions to anger, the people above him in rank would show him anger and would frown upon things such as crying and grieving. Now coming home to a life without the marines, one would think sadness would be the emotion he would first want to use, not having been able to use it in so long. The only emotion he knows now is anger, it’s the first thing he turns to and he no longer understands the emotion sadness.\n
  • So coming home from war was a traumatic experience itself, trying to integrate himself back into the norms of American society. The first thing he turned to was alcohol and drank it in excess. He talked about coming home and meeting people who had been in the war, not necessarily with him, and having people he could finally relate to. Nights that have little meaning to normal people have a lot of meaning to veterans. Birthdays of friends who had died in war, anniversaries of friends dying, Veterans Day, all of these holidays were nights these veterans would go out and just be there for each other, and drink until they couldn’t remember anything.\n
  • The last thing we talked about was his instincts wherever he went. First off, let me say, he was not being racist at all when he said this. Every time he sees a middle-eastern person he thinks to himself, where could he be hiding a bomb, what should I do if he starts to reach for his pocket. He doesn’t do this because he thinks all middle-eastern people are bad, but because he was in that environment for so long, that that’s all he knew of them. All of them wanted to kill him and he knew it, so coming home and changing his whole thought process was impossible for him. He felt so much anxiety while he was over there that coming back didn’t help change his fears.\n
  • The Iraq veteran talked about how these college kids that he went to class with were disrespectful and how every time they did something disrespectful he wanted to take them outside and beat them up. He’d see people listening to there iPods during class or playing on there phones or sleeping and he couldn’t stand it. He learned in the marines how much respect means and how it’s necessary in life. He understands that not everyone learns it like he did in the marines but he can’t understand how people just don’t pay attention and instead they do everything but listen to what the teachers have to say. The problems he had in high school were nothing compared to now, petty little issues that could have been fixed in no time if he wanted them to be. He says he wishes his high school problems were the only ones he had now because they are a one on a scale of one to ten compared to the problems he has coming home from war with PTSD.\n
  • So for my class activity i’ll be showing you a few pictures of optical illusions. I know this might seem like it has nothing to do with PTSD. Well, optical illusions are interpretations of the subconscious mind and perception. PTSD has a major affect on the subconscious in that it is damaged and always have this intuitive feeling that something bad is going to happen. The subconscious is constantly telling the body something bad is about to happen, keeping it in a constant alert mode. PTSD also messes with the brains perception. It seems to perceive the world as an extremely dangerous place that brings no happiness. The brain starts to perceive the world as a reality according to the trauma that occurred. So i’ll show a picture and keep it up for a few seconds and then i’ll have someone in the class tell me what they see. After that i’ll tell you the brains processing behind each.\n
  • So what does everyone see here? Looks like the Mona Lisa right?\n
  • This is the exact same picture flipped upside down. It is the Mona Lisa with the eyes and mouth flipped upside down.\n
  • Right side up, the distortions of this Mona Lisa stick out. This is because the brain is only able to process right side up faces, it is not wired to recognize inverted faces. Inverted faces aren’t processed as faces, they are processed as objects in another part of the brain. The part of the brain that processes objects doesn’t look for as much detail before giving the mind its final mental image. The part of the brain that recognizes faces has to have a fine tuning for detail or else a lot of faces would look very similar.\n
  • Read this sentences once, only once, and while you read it, count the number of f’s in it.\n
  • How many did everyone come up with?\n
  • The correct number was 6, the majority of people who have never seen this before will usually come up with 4, assuming they follow the directions and only read the sentence once. The most common f’s to find are the longer words like finished, files, and scientific. There are two reasons why the f’s in the of’s are often skipped. One is because of is usually seen as a single letter because it’s so short and it used so often, the brain has processed it as a single letter like a or i. Longer words are processed by looking at each letter and unscrambling it into a word (although it doesn’t seem like it since you read words so fast). The other reason is because although it is spelled o-f it makes a sound as if the word were spelled u-v so the brain doesn’t process it as a word with an f.\n
  • Read through this once quickly, you have 3 seconds.\n
  • What did it say?\n
  • If you read slowly, you’ll see that the is used twice between in and springtime. The reason for this is that after the brain processes the once and sees it again on the next line it automatically sees it as an error and discards it. Your brain is like a automatic filter for incoming information. Theres a reason authors have dozens of copies of there books before the final copy comes out with minimal errors, and even still there are usually one or two errors in the book. Sometimes errors are discarded in the brain because it understands the point that is trying to be presented.\n
  • Take a look at these pictures. Does anything seem odd about these towers? It shouldn’t, these pictures are exact replicas of each other. This is due to something called a Jastrow Illusion. This shows that instead of comparing the entire area and height of each building, the only thing compared is the closes edges, which in the right picture is the left edge of the tower, and in the left picture, the right edge. The reason it looks like the right picture is leaning more is because the right edge of the left picture doesn’t have as much of a steep angle as the left edge of the right picture. This makes your brain think that the picture on the right is on a steeper angle overall, making this an illusion.\n
  • Everybody in the class should be able to read this with minimal difficulty. The explanation for this one is in the paragraph. The reason you can read this is because the brain actually only really processes the first and last letters, then it uses the letters in the middle to unscramble into a word that makes sense in that context.\n
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  • There are so many things in life PTSD has an affect on. It changes a persons social, emotional, physical, and mental health. Emotional changes during PTSD cause a lot of trust issues which make it hard for people to get close to a PTSD patient without a lot of therapy first. During PTSD the constant elevated heart rate affects cortisol levels and in the long run, damages the hippocampus. Although PTSD can be treated with a variety of different methods, it can never be fully cured. PTSD is something a person has to live with the rest of there life. Although it can’t be cured, with therapy, symptoms can become less severe and easier to cope with. A person can become in control of there symptoms when they arise and intruding memories become less and less. PTSD is a very serious disease that, if left untreated, can become something uncontrollable and lead to irrational thinking.\n
  • Desch SGP

    2. 2. ThesisPost-Traumatic Stress Disorder poses a serious problemin society today because it can disguise itself as othermental health issues and in rare cases, physicalailments. Through my application component I willprove that all parts of a persons life can be affected bythis disorder but, with treatment, can be coped with.
    3. 3.
    4. 4. What is PTSD?Exposed to a traumaFirst sign of PTSD
    5. 5. First Signs of PTSD First seen 490 BC Soldiers going blind/deaf Nostalgia - homesick Baran, Madeleine. "Timeline: Mental illness and war through history."     MPRnews. Minnesota Public Radio, Feb. 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2011.
    6. 6. Nostalgia Josef Leopold Auenbrugger Civil War and Nostalgia Soldier’s Heart/Exhausted Heart Baran, Madeleine. "Timeline: Mental illness and war through history."     MPRnews. Minnesota Public Radio, Feb. 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2011.
    7. 7. World War I Shell Shock/ Combat Fatigue Shelling Soldiers develop symptoms w/o shelling Baran, Madeleine. "Timeline: Mental illness and war through history."     MPRnews. Minnesota Public Radio, Feb. 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2011.
    8. 8. World War II Gross Stress Reaction Symptoms get worse, psychiatric hospitals not giving enough time for recovery Restricted to soldiers Baran, Madeleine. "Timeline: Mental illness and war through history."     MPRnews. Minnesota Public Radio, Feb. 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2011.
    9. 9. Vietnam/Post-Vietnam GSR taken out of DSM, no diagnosis Post-Vietnam Syndrome PTSD put in DSM Update types of trauma Baran, Madeleine. "Timeline: Mental illness and war through history."     MPRnews. Minnesota Public Radio, Feb. 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2011.
    10. 10. PTSD Vocabulary Amygdala Prefrontal Cortex Hippocampus "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Research Fact Sheet." National Institute of     Mental Health. National Institute of Mental Health, 16 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 Feb. 2011. <>.
    11. 11. PTSD Vocabulary Cortisol Hyper-Vigilance Dissociation "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Research Fact Sheet." National Institute of     Mental Health. National Institute of Mental Health, 16 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 Feb. 2011. <>.
    12. 12. How does PTSD start? Traumatic events Examples Williams, Mary Beth, and Soila Poijula. The PTSD Workbook. Oakland: New     Harbinger Publications, 2002. Print.
    13. 13. Symptoms Nervousness Depression Schiraldi, Glenn R. "About PTSD." The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook.     Los Angeles: Lowell House, 1999. 3-36. Print.
    14. 14. More Symptoms Flashbacks Nightmares Avoidance Emotional Issues Schiraldi, Glenn R. "About PTSD." The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook.     Los Angeles: Lowell House, 1999. 3-36. Print.
    15. 15. Anger Why is this usually the first emotion they turn to? Who are they angry at? Who do they release there anger on? Jacobson, Sid, and Ernie Colon. Coming Home. N.p.: Ceridian Corporation,     Military OneSource, 2008. N. pag. Print.
    16. 16. Hyper-vigilance Anxiety Nervous System stuck on Example "For Veterans and the General Public." United States Department of Veterans     Affairs. N.p., 6 Oct. 2010. Web. 15 Dec. 2010. <>.
    17. 17. Dissociation What is it? Forget the trauma What effects does this have on everyday life? Feel disconnected from themselves and others "For Veterans and the General Public." United States Department of Veterans     Affairs. N.p., 6 Oct. 2010. Web. 15 Dec. 2010. <>.
    18. 18. How do they cope? Substance abuse Emotional numbing Emotional conversion Schiraldi, Glenn R. "About PTSD." The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook.     Los Angeles: Lowell House, 1999. 3-36. Print.
    19. 19. Amygdala in PTSD Fear Conditioning Example Right Amygdala "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Research Fact Sheet." National Institute of Mental Health. National Institute of Mental Health, 16 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 Feb. 2011. <>
    20. 20. Hippocampus in PTSD Memory storage/retrieval Overcome fear Under-active/Over-active "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Research Fact Sheet." National Institute of Mental Health. National Institute of Mental Health, 16 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 Feb. 2011. <>
    21. 21. Hippocampus Damage Stress and Cortisol Destroy Hippocampus cells Smaller then average Hippocampi Tull, Matthew. "The Effect of PTSD on the Brain." About. N.p., 25 Jan. 2009. Web. 13 Jan. 2011. <>
    22. 22. Treatment Methods Mental Health Professional Medication Group Therapy Schiraldi, Glenn R. "About PTSD." The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook. Los Angeles: Lowell House, 1999. 3-36
    23. 23. Steps to Recovery Recalling event willingly Talking to someone about it Correct unrealistic expectations Slow and steady Schiraldi, Glenn R. "About PTSD." The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook. Los Angeles: Lowell House, 1999. 3-36
    24. 24. Application Component Trip to Penn State Interviews with Psychologists/Veterans Purpose
    25. 25. Psychologist Interviews Talked to multiple therapists/psychologists/ psychiatrists Common reactions to PTSD
    26. 26. Diagnosis DSM Diagnosis Symptoms subjective Depends on what the patient tells you
    27. 27. TreatmentProblems with no treatmentMedicationCardiac-Coherence
    28. 28. Vulnerability High Stress Cardiac Issues
    29. 29. Veteran InterviewsInterviewed 2 veteransVietnamIraqTalked about experiences
    30. 30. Vietnam Veteran Aircraft carrier, worked on flight deck Triggers Start of PTSD Anger/isolated
    31. 31. Pre-Vietnam Happy Good sense of humor Married
    32. 32. Post-VietnamDivorcedWorked at a saw millAngerNo treatment
    33. 33. Saw MillProgressively got worseFight with co-worker
    34. 34. After Treatment Therapy Marriage Still think of trauma everyday
    35. 35. Iraq Veteran Good days/bad days Minor problems set him off Blind rage Can’t explain problem
    36. 36. Coming Home High School to War to College Regular college problems His problems Remembering friends from war
    37. 37. In IraqKnew what to expectLearn angerDon’t understand sadness
    38. 38. Post-Iraq Alcoholism War Related Holidays Remembering the war
    39. 39. Instinct Middle-eastern Anxiety
    40. 40. School Disrespectful college kids High school problems compared to now
    41. 41. Class ActivitySubconscious Mind + PTSDShow different picturesOnly a few seconds for each picture
    42. 42.
    43. 43.
    44. 44.
    46. 46. How many did you count?
    48. 48.
    49. 49. What did it say?
    50. 50.
    51. 51.
    52. 52. Can you read this? I cnduot bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dsenot mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too.
    53. 53. Works CitedBaran, Madeleine. “Timeline: Mental illness and war through history.” MPRnews. Minnesota Public Radio, Feb. 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2011. <‌projects/‌2010/‌02/‌beyond-deployment/‌ptsd-timeline/‌index.shtml>.“The Biology of PTSD.” PTSD Support Services. N.p., 14 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 Feb. 2011. <>.Carter, Rita. Mapping the Mind. N.p.: Orion Publishing Group, 2010. Print.“For Veterans and the General Public.” United States Department of Veterans Affairs. N.p., 6 Oct. 2010. Web. 15 Dec. 2010. <‌public/‌index.asp>.Goode, Erica. “When Soldiers Snap.” The New York Times 8 Nov. 2009: n. pag. The New York Times. Web. 10 Jan. 2011. <>.
    54. 54. Works CitedHart, Onno Van der, Ellert R.S. Nijenhuis, and Kathy Steele. “Dissociation: An Insufficiently Recognized Major Feature of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Journal of Traumatic Stress 18 (Oct. 2005): 413-421. Print.Jacobson, Sid, and Ernie Colon. Coming Home. N.p.: Ceridian Corporation, Military OneSource, 2008. N. pag. Print.Joseph, Rhawn, Dr. The Right Brain and the Unconscious; Discovering the Stranger Within. N.p.: Basic Books, 1992. Print.Lanham, Stephanie Laite. Veterans and Families’ Guide to Recovering from PTSD. Annandale: Purple Heart Service Foundation, 2007. Print.“Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Research Fact Sheet.” National Institute of Mental Health. National Institute of Mental Health, 16 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 Feb. 2011. <>.
    55. 55. Works Cited“PTSD.” Chart. Purple Heart Service Foundation. 2007. Veterans and Families’ Guide to Recovering from PTSD. By Stephanie Laite Lanham. Illus. R Grover. Annandale: Purple Heart Service Foundation, 2007. 14. Print.Schiraldi, Glenn R. “About PTSD.” The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook. Los Angeles: Lowell House, 1999. 3-36. Print.Tull, Matthew. “The Effect of PTSD on the Brain.” About. N.p., 25 Jan. 2009. Web. 13 Jan. 2011. <>.Williams, Mary Beth, and Soila Poijula. The PTSD Workbook. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, 2002. Print.Zavis, Alexandra. “Many Veterans with PTSD Struggle to find Supportive Employment.” Los Angeles Times 19 Sept. 2010: n. pag. Web. 21 Dec. 2010. <‌2010/‌sep/‌19/‌local/‌la-me-veterans-invisible-wounds-20100920>.
    56. 56. Conclusion Affects multiple aspects of life Never completely cured Treatment methods can only help cope/lessen symptoms