Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (referred to as PTSD) is a psychiatric condition that may develop following any catastrophic life experience. There are a variety of factors that may determine an individuals specific predisposition for developing PTSD but for this article we shall examine the factors surrounding encountering this disorder as a result of a natural disaster, some symptoms of PTSD and the range of people this can actually effect.
PTSD became much more widely known following the US war in Vietnam, due to soldiers returning from the conflict zone developed many disturbing psychological symptoms and loss of functioning. However, even now in a world so in tune to psychological disorders, when faced with a disaster zone so much has to be considered and acted upon, such as the safety of victims, the delivery of aid and the possible re-homing of thousands or even million of people, the psychological effects of disasters are rarely seen as a priority. As a result of this, countless individuals around the world face PTSD alone, when in reality it is a condition that can vastly improve with counselling and therapy.
Classifying a traumatic event experienced as an individual as a disaster may prove difficult, and the distinction between what is experienced by an individual and the surrounding population may consider greatly. Therefore for the purpose of this article we will assume a disaster is an event, which is severely damaging and disruptive for a significant number of individuals.
PTSD symptoms vary significantly from person to person, both in the severity of the condition and also the symptoms that a sufferer may experience. It is important to note that PTSD does not necessarily develop in the immediate aftermath of an event, instead it can take week, months or even years for a sufferer to begin to experience symptoms. PTSD symptoms can include one or more of the following:
– impaired functioning
– memory issues
– parenting or marital difficulties
Unfortunately this list is not exhaustive, PTSD symptoms vary a great deal but often improve significantly with help, with psychotherapy cited the most efficient way of dealing with PTSD in the aftermath of a traumatic event.
So as we can see PTSD does not just effect those caught directly within a traumatic event, but may be experienced by people worldwide. However PTSD does not have to be a condition that has to be lived with, instead access to help can ensure that this disorder can be effectively controlled so an active life can continue to be led.