This paper is an analysis of a case, which is found to have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. It includes a discussion of the nature of the disorder and the treatments available for those suffering from it. Also, this paper tackles a series of questions related to the topic. Marla: A Case of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Marla’s Case Marla is a 42-year-old Hispanic female who works as an accountant. She has trouble sleeping and is jumpy all the time. She also experiences inability to concentrate. These experiences happen to her during work.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) According to Dr. Arthur J. Kohn in “Faces of Abnormal Psychology”, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is basically an anxiety disorder experienced by people who have been exposed to traumatic events. It consists of three main types of symptoms. The first type of symptoms includes re-experiencing traumatic events through involuntary flashbacks and dreams. Second, people who are experiencing PTSD are also experiencing numbness or emotional detachment from friends and family. They are unable to express love.
They may also suffer from limited amnesia which restrains them from recalling details from their traumatic events. The third type of symptoms include being hyper vigilant and chronically alert. They have the tendency to be startled easily and have difficulty in sleeping. Aside from these three main types of symptoms, people who suffer from PTSD also has the potential of suffering from depression, substance related disorders and anxiety disorders. Posttraumatic Stress disorder started out during the period of Civil War.
Medical records referred to the disorder as “Da Costa’s Stndrome”. It was named after a Civil War doctor who described the symptoms of the disorder. It was then named as “shell shock” and “combat fatigue” during World War I and World War II, respectively. It was only after the Vietnam War that this disorder was systematically studied. Scientists discovered that in addition to combat, there are a variety of traumas that induce the same symptoms. They then renamed the condition to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
According to a number of theorists, PTSD is being contributed by a form of classical conditioning. They argued that when people suffer from significant traumatic events, they are sensitized to the event and other factors which are associated with those events. There are also other factors that may cause PTSD. Once a person with PTSD acquires a fear response, he/she usually avoids the fear-inducing stimuli entirely. This avoidance is negatively reinforced, thus the fear becomes seriously part of the person’s behavior.
This is a combination of classical and operant conditioning which is called Mowers’ two-factor explanation. According to statistics, 60 percent of adult men and 51 percent of female would report of at least one traumatic experience in their lives. The most common of these events is witnessing someone being killed or being injured. Treatment Therapy for PTSD consists of three main goals. The first is to be able to reduce the fear of the person in provoking stimuli. Second, it also aims to help the client modify counterproductive thoughts and third, to reduce his/her stress.
Systematic desensitization is the most effective way to reduce the fear towards a particular stimulus. This technique helps the person unlearn his/her fear, hence reversing the conditioning process. The first step in systematic desensitization is to establish a state of relaxation in the client to release tension in the muscles of the body. The second step is when the therapist and the client tries to make a hierarchy of fears which is basically a list of fear provoking stimuli.
The list starts from the least threatening stimuli to the most threatening. Third, the client is systematically desensitized by exposing him/her to different fear provoking stimuli. This exposure is gradually done until such time that the client is completely calm while being completely exposed to the stimuli. Case Analysis Marla may be suffering from Posttraumatic Stress disorder. According to the case, she is an accountant, 42 years of age and has trouble sleeping and has inability to concentrate in her work. She also feels jumpy almost all the time.