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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychological disorder which affects people who have experienced a traumatic event. People who have PTSD are unable to live their lives normally as they regularly experience flashbacks of the traumatic event. As a result, their lives are badly affected by their inability to cope with the trauma. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is prescribed for people with PTSD and as a means of preventing it. There is overwhelming evidence which points to its success.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

 Psychological disorders refer to mental conditions of stress and anxiety. These are characterized by distinct patterns of behaviour. These disorders are rampant in all societies and among all people. They can be classified into numerous types. However, one particular kind of psychological disorder is termed as the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental that can occur when a person personally undergoes or observes a horrific, frightful, or dreadful event. It is experienced through recollections of that event. Bad dreams also cause mental disturbances. Moreover, a person suffers severe mental stress and anxiety. This is particularly true for soldiers returning from war. For example, many soldiers coming back from war theatres in Afghanistan and Iraq have experienced PTSD. For some of them, the anxiety has been unbearable to the extent that they have committed suicide.

However, there is a growing opinion of researchers that the occurrence of a traumatic event is not necessary. They contend that sometimes a non-traumatic event, such as the sudden death of a loved one, is enough to cause PTSD. Similarly, retiring professionals or athletes can also have PTSD. For a person to be diagnosed with PTSD, the symptoms must last more than a month. Lastly, the symptoms must be severe enough to affect your daily life to be considered PTSD.


PTSD may take at least a month to develop after the occurrence of the event. Sometimes, it can take several months or even years before it begins to develop. The person experiencing PTSD has disturbing remembrance of the event quite persistently. Moreover, he also tends to evade discussion of the event with anyone and tries his best not to think about it. The person living with PTSD undergoes several negative changes regarding social life as well. He or she develops apathy towards life. Other symptoms include staying away from family and friends, having a low opinion of oneself and suffering from an inferiority complex. Such a person is readily terrified, fails to focus his mind on anything positive and becomes short-tempered. In worst-case scenarios, people tend to hurt themselves physically, which may ultimately lead to suicidal tendencies (Landolt, Cloitre, & Schnyder, 2017).


The biopsychosocial model holds that diseases are a result of biological factors (genetic, etc.), psychological factors (mood, personality, etc.) and social factors (cultural, societal, etc.). Nowadays, researchers contend that the high rate of PTSD among military and civilian populations is due to social, biological, and psychological factors. Societies are experiencing social disintegration, which has led to an increase in the development of psychological and mental disorders. Individuals who are more disassociated from their families or have a dysfunctional work environment are more likely to suffer from PTSD than others. The lack of interaction with others is also another factor contributing to PTSD.


The biological aspect of the biopsychosocial model refers to a person’s genetic and neural makeup. The way our body is programmed defines how we experience and adapt to certain environments and events. A person who experiences severe trauma is naturally affected more by it. He is made sensitive about his experience, and thus, his ability to cope with future traumatic events is also diminished. Such an individual’s biopsychosocial balance is upset. Therefore, he is more prone to be affected badly by unpleasant events, e.g., a person who has participated in war might have severe PTSD. Later on, if he encounters another unpleasant event, his ability to cope with it would already be diminished because of his previous experience. As a result, he would find it increasingly difficult to handle the new stress.


The psychological component of the biopsychosocial model is related to the cognitive part of the human personality. It involves our emotions, perceptions, behaviour, and our response to events and the environment in general. Psychological factors that lead to PTSD or aggravate PTSD include impaired thinking, pessimistic attitude, inability to cope, negative outlook towards everything, etc. Let us consider someone who has been abused by his stepfather, while his mother did not do anything to stop the abuse. That person will develop a negative attitude towards women in general and specifically women who like his mother. It will cause him to develop either a violent or antisocial personality. Such a personality would create complex problems such as PTSD.


The social aspect of the biopsychosocial model examines the social factors that affect the well-being of individuals and how they contribute to their health. Social factors include economic status, social class, status, laws, religion, family, etc. Let us take the example of school shootings in the US. Disgruntled students engage in mass murder of their fellow students. Anyone who experiences such events would begin to exhibit signs of PTSD. Later, such events might affect him negatively and compel him to act negatively.


Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is the leading treatment for patients who have PTSD. It is not only helpful in reducing the symptoms of PTSD but also in overcoming it eventually. For PTSD, we particularly focus on Trauma-Focused Cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) as it has shown tremendous results in overcoming PTSD. It uses cognitive-behavioral principles and exposure techniques to treat PTSD. Moreover, it is also a useful technique for preventing PTSD. One of the methods employed in TF-CBT is Trauma Narrative Development and Processing. The goal of TF-CBT is to desensitize the individual towards the incident by repeatedly sharing and elaborating on the event. Moreover, the method helps individuals integrate the experience into their daily lives so that it no longer affects them (Cohen, Deblinger, & Mannarino, 2016).

Various studies conducted showed that by retelling their stories repeatedly, individuals were able to overcome their PTSD. Recently, a study revealed that by digitally retelling their stories using images and videos, children were able to overcome severe PTSD (Anderson & Cook, 2015).


PTSD affects millions of people worldwide. Some are more open with their fight to overcome the disorder, while others fight it silently. Symptoms of PTSD are clear and can easily be judged. It is caused by a wide array of factors, including biological, social and psychological. PTSD can be cured as well as prevented by adopting certain techniques. Recent techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help individuals overcome this disorder, as recent studies have shown.


Anderson, K. M., & Cook, J. R. (2015, 7 27). Challenges and Opportunities of Using Digital Storytelling as a Trauma Narrative Intervention for Traumatized Children. Special Issue: Technology, the Internet & Social Work Practice, 16(1).

Cohen, J. A., Deblinger, E., & Mannarino, A. P. (2016, July 22). Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Traumatized Children and Families. Psychotherapy Research, 28(1), 47-57. doi:

Landolt, M. A., Cloitre, M., & Schnyder, U. (2017). Evidence-Based Treatments for Trauma Related Disorders in Children and Adolescents. Springer.



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