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Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is defined as being caused by exposure to violent events such as rape domestic violence child abuse war accidents natural disasters and political torture PTSD has effected thousands of people and it affects children adults men and women It was thought to be a disorder of war veterans who had been involved in combat but research studied reveals that PTSD can result in many types of trauma especially those being life-threatening It has been called shell shock battle fatigue and accident neurosis and post rape syndrome PTSD has often been misunderstood or misdiagnosed although it has specific symptoms and is a serious mental illness Although according to a recent survey it is a rare mental illness even among Vietnam combat veterans where it is commonly associatedAlthough accounts of war neurosis date back to Homers Iliad the term post-traumatic stress disorder was not used formally until the publication of the third revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual DSM III in 1980 As a clinical entity PTSD is defined as the development of characteristic symptoms following a psychologically traumatic event that produces fear helplessness or horror Characteristic symptoms involve re-experiencing the event reduced involvement with the external world and a variety of autonomic dysphoric andor cognitive symptoms The symptoms of PTSD may simply be a normal reaction to witnessing a traumatic experience Only if the symptoms persist longer than three months it is then classified as part of the disorder Sometimes symptoms arise months or even years later after the event Psychiatrists categorize PTSDs symptoms in three categories intrusive symptoms avoidance symptoms and symptoms of hyper-arousal People suffering from PTSD may have episodes where the traumatic event intrudes in their current life This can occur in sudden vivid memories that are accompanied by painful emotions Sometimes the trauma is re-experienced This is a flashback so strong that the person thinks he or she is actually experiencing the trauma
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