Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder that develops after an individual has contact to a shocking, terrifying occurrence. In most traumatic circumstances, it is very normal to feel terrified during and after it transpires. The fight-or-flight response automatically comes out as a reaction to protect one from any harm. Most people experience varieties of reactions after trauma; nonetheless, others may experience unbearable stress from it even if they’re not at risk.
Trauma such as actual or threatened death, serious injury, and sexual violence; whether it happened to them, their friend or a family member can result to PTSD. The causes of PTSD are indefinite however biological, psychological and social factors are involved. The biological factors are summed up to when we are exposed to a traumatic event, we distinguish it through our senses; for instance, we hear a broadcast of an incoming hurricane, we’ve seen past hurricane events, we smell the fear and anxiety and sometimes we even feel the wind blowing strongly already. The information is transmitted from our sensory organs to the brain; then transmitted to the thalamus and from there to two additional areas, the cortex and amygdala.
The amygdala is the brain’s “alarm system” which is triggered by any threat, giving it “fear and then communicates information to four systems: Memory-Creation System, The Sympathetic Nervous System, The Hormonal System and the Serotonin System. The Memory-Creation System is where the amygdala transmits the warning to the hippocampus, which helps deliver words for the personal, emotional experience and in generating the proper attitude towards it.
From the hippocampus, the information is transmitted to the cortex where predominantly in the area called the “prefrontal cortex,’ the overall experience is evaluated. If the threat passes, an “all-clear indication is sent from the cortex to the amygdale and the experience is “filed as an experience from the past. The sympathetic nervous system connects information to the brain stem, where an order is given to secrete the hormone noradrenaline; which initiates them to prepare for a dangerous situation. The Hormonal system sends information to the hypothalamus, where it ends with the secretion of the hormone cortisol that ensures the source of energy required to deal with the stressful situation. Lastly, the serotonin system comes into play when the hypothalamus transmits to the nucleus; it then secretes serotonin that reaches all of the brain structures involved in the response to stress (the cortex, hippocampus and amygdale). Secretion of serotonin controls deceleration of the state of alarm and the return to a state of calm.
Also genetics can play a part as a factor of PSTD; anxiety tends to run in the family, meaning that if your parent has an anxiety disorder, you are more likely to develop one during your lifetime or even develop one if no one in your family has ever been diagnosed with one. Both parents can have PTSD and the child will not develop it; however, the child is at a higher risk. The social factors of PTSD can be part of a history of childhood neglect or abuse, lack of social support from family and friends and also social isolation. Temperamental factors such as externalizing behaviors or other anxiety issues may also increase risk. Other environmental risk factors include family dysfunction, childhood hardship, cultural variables, and family history of psychiatric illness. The greater the level of the trauma, the greater the risk for PTSD; due to perceiving atrocities, severe personal injury, and executing violence. Anything that may carry a negative aspect around the timing of anxiety evolving can increase the risk of the disorder developing. Unlike most disorders, PTSD is very curable with the use of exposure therapy; a behavioral therapy that helps desensitize the disorder by exposing them to their fear either little by little or all at once. This form of therapy can help rid the disorder over time.
An individual can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from witnessing shocking, dangerous trauma; leaving them experiencing intolerable stress. The actual causes of PTSD was never identified; however, everything within our lives biologically, psychologically and socially plays a role in how the disorder is developed. Although the factors are not only genetic, our environment and setting can also be the reason for the disorder developing.