Monday, March 5, 2012

Post-Traumatic Stress Research Paper

Research Paper on Post-Traumatic Stress

The effects of post-traumatic stress on the medical professional
World Health Organization’s dictionary gives complete definition of a post-traumatic stress. According to it, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) arises as a response to a stressful event in the past. Some people are more inclined to experience post-traumatic stress based on the personality traits, some are less, however it is hard to predict or anticipate. Some of the typical syndromes include reliving the trauma again in dreams or nightmares, emotional “numbness”, detachment from surrounding people and events.

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According to the dictionary, “there is usually a state of autonomic hyperarousal with hypervigilance, an enhanced startle reaction, and insomnia. Anxiety and depression are commonly associated with the above symptoms and signs, and suicidal ideation is not infrequent.” The period between the trauma and post-traumatic stress can last for weeks or even months, however the recovery happens in almost every case. It is also possible that a person develops a chronic post-traumatic disorder which may lead over the years to a personality change and traumatic neurosis.

All the people can develop post-traumatic stress regardless of their professional occupation, however, medical professionals can be in a higher risk group. They are exposed to extreme situations at work – deaths, illnesses, suffering of the patients and their relatives. All these event can lead to PTSD and sometimes not single experience, but rather accumulation of different traumas intensify the stress.

PTSD is usually associated with an overwhelmingly stressful event that exceeds persons coping capacity, like for example, death of a close person. This is something that medical professionals can experience at work nearly every day. We expect doctors and nurses to be used to see people’s suffering and develop emotional block against taking the events at work to their personal world. However, the doctors and nurses have the same emotions as all the other people outside the profession and is the same way feel compassion to everyone who suffers. For example, a pediatrician who was treating a boy since his birth, when the boy is 10 years old, discovers that he has tumor. We expect the doctor to remain professional and calm and maybe even smile when he is with the patient, however, it may be an overwhelming emotional trauma that the doctor might find very difficult to cope with.

Most of the people experiencing PTSD tend to avoid all the places and activities that they associate with the trauma, however, it is nearly impossible when a trauma is a part of one’s profession. For example, a nurse, who saw a patient dieing during the operation, will need to come back to the same operation room every day.

PTSD can be intensified since medical professionals cannot afford to mourn about every event they see at work. With very stressful job and numerous responsibilities, they have no time express or relieve their negative emotions. The stress accumulates over time and might result into serious disorders.  

A solution in some cases might be seeking for professional help by consulting a mental health professional or finding a way to deal with a stress, finding a way to discharge bad emotions. We should not forget that PTSD is a treatable anxiety disorder. Although many people have post traumatic stress syndrome, there is no need to suffer in silence!  
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