PS 401 Abnormal Psychology
Professor: Enloe, Joseph
10 December 2009
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Description
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that can develop following a traumatic
event that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless. Most people associate PTSD with battle-scarred soldiers -- and militarycombat is the most common cause in men --but any overwhelming life experience can trigger PTSD, especially if the event is perceived as unpredictable and uncontrollable. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect those who personally experience the catastrophe, those who witness it, and those who pick up the pieces afterwards, including emergency workers and law enforcement officers. It caneven occur in the friends or family members of those who went through the actual trauma. Traumatic events that can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include: war, rape, natural disasters, a car or plane crash, kidnapping, violent assault, sexual or physical abuse, medical procedures (especially kids).
After being diagnose many people with PTSD become very disillusioned with the lifethey are leading, and everything associated with it. PTSD (or the cause of the condition) can literally change the way someone thinks and feels about their life. It is not uncommon for people to (or want to) change career, change where they live, and every other aspect of their daily life.
This is not necessarily because they hate the life they have. Many people find the experience they have, andthe realization that they have PTSD, as an opportunity to seriously re-evaluate life and what they find important. Often, they will no longer be interested in material possessions or financial wealth, preferring to concentrate on what they need to live, rather than what “society” or peer pressure dictates they should have.
This is a good thing in a way. Most people tend to “drift along” in lifeand never REALLY have time to evaluate what really makes them happy (or unhappy), and take things as they come. Most with PTSD have an intense need to look into themselves and re-build their life in a totally different and meaningful way.
I found out that prior to the studies done on Vietnam veterans, there were very few scientific studies of what we today call PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It said that during the early 1800’s military doctors began diagnosing soldiers with "exhaustion" following the stress of battle. This "exhaustion" was characterized by mental shutdown due to individual or group trauma. Like today, soldiers during the 1800’s were not supposed to be afraid or show any fear in the heat of battle (PTSD Manual).
General George S.Patton, one of World War II’s most controversial and successful Allied commanders, was well known for his brashness and brilliance. One of the many incident that involve General Patton that caught my attention while reading about PTSD was one that talks about artilleryman, Paul G. Bennett. When shows this point very well. Everything started when the General found Bennett while visiting an evacuationhospital. The book said, that General Patton asked Bennett what was wrong with him. Bennett responded, “It’s my nerves. I can’t stand the shelling anymore.” Patton barked back, your nerves, hell; you are just a Goddamned coward, you yellow son of a bitch…. “You’re going back to the frontlines and you may get shot and killed, but you’re going to fight. If you don’t, I’ll stand you up againsta wall and have a firing squad kill you on purpose.” To be sure there was absolutely no misunderstanding it, he added, “in fact, I ought to shoot you myself, you Goddamned whimpering coward. “(Charles M. Province) Patton then pulled is pistol from its holster and waved it in front of Bennett’s face. After holstering the weapon Patton proceeded to hit Bennett twice in the head with his fist,...