Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Abuse Capstone Project

Pages: 15 (4018 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology

Post traumatic stress is also related with many different biological changes in the human body, this fact has been confirmed by many different studies in the field of physiology as well as biology. One study in this regard measured the electodermal responses of several veterans to olfactory stimulants. The main conclusion of this study was that dysfunctional cerebral laternalisation might be the main culprit for some of the post traumatic stress symptoms like intrusive images, psychological numbing and hypervigilance.

Chronic stress and post traumatic stress have been usually compared because of possible correlation or similarities. The increment in glucocorticoid release by the adrenal glands might lead towards any loss of the hippocampal granule cells alongside the production of very complex biphasic responses that may decrease or increase the hippocampal function. The hippocampal plays a very important part in the tasks of memory and learning in any individual. Any sort of impairments related to these areas might appear under extreme amount of stress.

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The amygdala, temporal lobe and hippocampus greatly affect the deficits between memory and learning. Information is processed through all of the areas related to sensory association cortex as well as from the frontal lobe's motor association cortex. The amygdala is also responsible for the sending of information that is concerned with odors and other stimuli towards the hippocampal complex. The hippocampus which is anatomically adjacent to amygdala is responsible for recording the temporal and spatial dimensions of a memory. It functions in the storage and categorization of any incoming stimuli in memory. Hippocampus is tend to be extremely important for the shorter-term memory process therefore any decrease here would greatly lower these senses and also any increment would keep the individual alerted most of its time.

Capstone Project on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Abuse Assignment

It is observed that chronic physiological arousal alongside failure to properly regulate any autonomic reactions to external and internal stimuli greatly affect any individual's ability to utilize different emotions as signals. These emotions are used in order to alert any person to pay proper attention towards their surroundings so that they might take adaptive measures. The responses in emotions halt when expectations of what should have occurred are happening which causes the individual to change its expectations or take action to adapt towards the situation.

Individuals who suffer from post traumatic stress tend to display action in response to the emotional arousal which is often disconnected or interrupted from each other. It is observed that this arousal is not at all used as a cue in order to pay attention towards incoming information. Instead of this, they immediately shift from stimulus towards response without figuring out first what is going on. Individuals are much likely to respond with flight or fight reactions. All of this might cause them to overreact or freeze and intimidate others greatly as a response to any sort of provocations even the minor ones.

These mentioned actions tend to create feelings of extreme helplessness and anger that is similar to those that are felt during any traumatic event and just like other memories associated with trauma these feelings are also very often avoided. Different studies have concluded that individuals with post traumatic stress suffer greatly from increased physiological arousal which is in response towards images, sounds alongside thoughts that are all related to any specific traumatic event from the past of the person. This is also associated with increment in skin conductance, increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

Impact on sociology

"Post traumatic stress greatly affects any individual's life, whether it is from the perspective of his social or personal habits" (Barlow, 2002). It is seen that besides being more aggressive towards others, an individual with post traumatic stress also tends to have error in judgments as well as more irrationality in decision making. This tends to make him more isolated on a social basis, others also experience isolation as well as difficulty in properly expressing themselves. According to many observations, individuals with PTSD often feel reluctant to express their feelings or to verbally share with others the events that cause the trauma.

It is therefore recommended that individuals with diagnosed PTSD should share their feelings with others so that they feel better, it also helps them when they listen to the experiences of others who go through tough situations in life so that they may compare themselves with those who are more unfortunate then them and feel some sort of satisfaction. It is a well established fact that if not treated in time then PTSD tends to get worse. There have been many suicides reported because of this, and according to some estimates about eighteen war veterans commit suicide every day, this account for up to more than six thousand five hundred deaths each year.

Trauma also causes more alcohol consumption as well as drug abuse, individuals diagnosed with PTSD are much more likely to get divorced, become single parent or even be homeless in their future life. Many working professionals tend to ignore the need for help because according to them this could jeopardize their careers as well as any chances of future promotion in the firm where they work.

Different researches and their conclusion

There are many researches conducted on the topic of PSTD, let's analyze few of them. In one study, women diagnosed with post traumatic stress were analyzed and here focus was on their overall reactions to startling tones. Here, the women were orderly subjected to startling tones whereas at the same time their eye blink and autonomic reactivity were recorded. The main aim of this exercise was to properly determine if responses towards startling stimuli somehow represented any sorts of enduring biological traits which are persistent through recovery and treatment.

This study involved fifty seven women that had a history of childhood sexual abuse. All of the test subjects were chosen from therapists, local clinics, self-help groups and through advertisements to take participation in the study. These women were all aged more than eighteen years and also screened for mental disorders such as axis I by using structural clinical interview. Those women who fell in the category of having schizophrenia, current mania or organic mental disorder were excluded. All of these test subjects were broadly classified into three main groups and the purpose of this grouping was to ensure that the results met by the judging criteria as expected by the researchers, these groups were lifetime post traumatic stress disorder (21), never happening post traumatic stress disorder (13) and past post traumatic stress disorder but not current (23).

It was found out that thirty nine of these test subjects had comorbid disorder. Also, sixteen were on psychotropic medication.

The instruments used in this research included the usage of Mississippi scale, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Impact of Event Scale and Beck Depression Inventory. Amongst all of them, fifty two participants used Clinical-Administered post traumatic stress disorder scale having the version of current and lifetime diagnosis. This study found out that the test subjects with current post traumatic stress disorder with childhood sexual abuse showed much greater acceleration in heart rate response as well as slower absolute habituation related to skin conduction responses and also startling tones compared with those women which had similar histories but no post traumatic stress. It was seen that there were no observable changes at the results after changing tones and adjusting medications.

Those women which had lifetime post traumatic stress disorder also gave the symptoms of greater skin conduction responses, increment in autonomic reactivity and slower absolute habituation that suggests to the observer that this might be a type of preexisting trait or might even become trait like and stays persistent even after any decrement in the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. This study clearly demonstrated that the participants with post traumatic stress had greater heart rates with the startling stimuli, this may also be the reason behind the defensive mechanism that is found in hypervigilance. Another conclusion that this study showed was that there was no difference in eye blink responses in women who had post traumatic stress as compared to those women who did not had PTSD.

Another study conducted on the subject of PTSD involved those Gulf War veterans. The main aim of this research was to shed some light on vital information related to central nervous system abnormalities in PTSD. Here, twenty seven veterans were used for the overall study in which fourteen were without PTSD and thirteen were having post traumatic stress but were not on any sort of medication. All of these chosen test subjects belonged to the same unit of combat.

All of the test subjects witnessed violently dismembered, disfigured or burned bodies and SCUD missile attacks. Here, two of the veterans were dismissed because of a lack in eye blink response whereas the third… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Abuse" Capstone Project in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Abuse.  (2013, March 19).  Retrieved January 26, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Abuse."  19 March 2013.  Web.  26 January 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Abuse."  March 19, 2013.  Accessed January 26, 2021.