PTSD and Brain Trauma
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PTSD and Brain Trauma

With consideration amung as a survivors andcaregivers we have to be considerate of the affects some of us may beexperiencing.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a broadcategory that applies to people who have been severely traumatized at one ormore times in their lives; at present, they are not functioning effectivelybecause they have not integrated the trauma and laid it to rest. The cause isexposure to a situation perceived to be threatening to oneself or one’s lovedones.

There are several different categories of experiencesthat typically cause PTSD or acute stress disorder. They include being incombat or in a war zone suffering personal or family victimization, livingthrough a natural disaster, or experiencing a manmade disaster. Each situationcreates different emotional experiences for the survivors and differentcognitions associated with the trauma.

However, survivors of all these experiences tend tohave the symptoms of PTSD. A crisis worker is bound to come into contact withclients who did not deal with traumas immediately after they occurred, and sothey have most likely been living in some state of PTSD for some time. An eventin the present often triggers a memory of the trauma, or the person’sfunctioning may diminish to the point that he or she can’t deal with societyany longer, so the person seeks the help of a mental health worker.

Some victims exist in a chronic crisis state, neverreally functioning at all. They often go from one therapist to another or fromhospital to jail to clinic looking for coping skills to deal with their currentproblems. Unfortunately, many cannot be effective in the present until theydeal with their past traumas.

This approach facilitates an ongoing dialogue allowingthe therapist to directly address issues in treatment that may relate toconflicting beliefs and values, along with doubts about one’s personal andsocial identities that may affect interpersonal functioning. This is especiallyhelpful in PTSD patients who have such profound doubts about their self-worthand their abilities to make effective changes in their lives based on personaltraumatic histories and religious belief systems which often lead to apessimistic view of fate.

Where there may also be cognitive symptoms such asblaming, confusion, poor attention, poor decisions, poor concentration, memoryproblems, increased or decreased awareness of surroundings, poor abstractthinking, loss of time, place, or person, nightmares, and intrusive images.Counselors, caregivers and survivors should assess whether these symptoms aredue to a serious mental disorder such as schizophrenia or part of the PTSD.

"Mentally Disabled People Although it is moredifficult to define and measure mental disabilities, the debilitating nature ofemotional and psychological problems is quite clear. Under the ADA, a mental impairment includes any “mentalor psychological disorder, such as . . . emotional or mental illness.” Amongthe examples cited are “major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders(which include panic disorder, obsessive disorder, and PTSD), schizophrenia,and personality disorders.” Comer (1995) gives the following statistics onmental illness in the United States: 13% have significant anxietydisorders; 6% have serious depression; 5% have debilitating personalitydisorders; 1% has schizophrenia; 1% has Alzheimer’s disease; and 10% aresuffering from drug and alcohol difficulties."

Kanel, Kristi (2007), The History of CrisisIntervention, A Guide to Crisis Intervention, Third edition, (p46) ThomsonBrooks/Cole

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