Can We Prevent the Development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Following Exposure to a Traumatic Event

Jalal Saifi - 10389474
Dr Catherine Deeprose
BSc Human Biosciences
PSYC 392

Can we prevent the Development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following Exposure to a Traumatic Event?

Every year a significant number of individuals develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to experiencing a traumatic event (Kessler et al, 1995; Hoge et al, 2004). PTSD profoundly affects not only us as individuals but loved ones around us, potentially undermining our capacity to seek a quality of life necessary for emotional, psychological and intellectual growth. DSM-IV by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines trauma as “event/s that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others” (Kessler et al, 1995). However such an ambiguous definition makes it hard to elaborate on the specific trauma allowing varied degrees of interpretation. The updated, DSM-V attempts to resolve this by narrowing down the trauma in the form of death, physical injury or actual or threatened sexual violation, and whether this experience is personal, if the trauma is of a first-hand witness by friend or relative, or continuous and repeated exposure to trauma that has occurred to others, like paramedics and returning soldiers. The need for an effective early intervention for chronic PTSD is highlighted by the enormous psychological, economic and social impact that is left post-traumatic events. It is common for affected individuals to report long-term symptoms with severe implications to emotional development and self-worth (Kessler et al, 1995). Cougle et al. (2009) conducted a national study and found that 18.8% of PTSD sufferers had attempted suicide and 40.3% were contemplating suicide. PTSD is frequently associated with other clinical disorders, resulting in costly hospitalisation and missed work-days (Davidson et al, 1991; Leserman et al, 1996; Friedman & Schnurr, 1995; Solomon et al, 1997;...