Magazine article USA TODAY

Non-Combat-Related Post Traumatic Stress

Magazine article USA TODAY

Non-Combat-Related Post Traumatic Stress

Article excerpt

Say "post traumatic stress disorder" and Vietnam veterans inevitably come to mind. However, PTSD isn't just a result of combat--it shows up in many private citizens as well in the wake of fire, rape, assault, or other highly stressful events, indicates Jorg Pahl, associate professor of psychiatry, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. For example, survivors of the 1994 sinking of the ferry Estonia are likely candidates to develop PTSD, as are women who have been raped or people who have suffered a major physical injury.

"PTSD also is a disorder which occurs more often in the inner-city environment than in the rural or suburban environment. Any time there is a traumatic event, physical danger, or the threat of personal danger, this disorder can be triggered. A key factor in this is that the person's response to the traumatic event--whether it happens to them or they are merely witnesses--includes feelings of intense fear, helplessness, or horror."

Symptoms of PTSD include dreams, flashbacks, or recurrent/intrusive thoughts of traumatic events experienced or witnessed. "External clues which remind the person of the event also are triggers. …

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