Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Jewish Survivors of Sexual Violence
Every time I close the door on reality it comes in through the windows --Jennifer Unlimited
Developing PTSD is directly related to the amount of trauma that you experience as was shown in the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study. PTSD is also affected by the meaning (or meaninglessness) of the events to the traumatized person. PTSD is worse when betrayal is involved. Human cruelty and neglect also increase its severity. Most people with PTSD do not know they have it, so they may use compulsive behavior to help them stay numb, everything from alcoholism to workaholism.
PTSD symptoms can occur for the first time, or reoccur, when you are triggered or re-triggered by personal stress, another trauma, or by events that remind you of the trauma. (Why the Gulf War was so hard on so many veterans.) If you thought you were over your PTSD, this doesn't mean your previous therapy didn't work, but that what worked then will work again. Traumatic events can't be erased, so, in that sense, PTSD can't be cured, but it can be helped. People with PTSD can live sane and happy lives. If they get re-triggered, they can find more help.
The symptoms of PTSD make sense as survivor skills in the context of trauma: get numb and you'll survive. Become extremely alert and you'll survive. Such survivor skills can, with the passage of time, become your biggest problems, but it is hard to let go of them because they kept you alive, not because you are weak or wicked or dumb.
-- Patience Mason, Editor; The Post-Traumatic Gazette Newsletter
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Last Updated: 06/03/2003
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