ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Updated on January 1, 2015

The Inner War

PTSD is a lesser known anxiety disorder gaining traction with the public as men and women of our armed forces physically return from the battle fields of the many wars now raging across the globe, only to find themselves locked on those battle fields in their minds. But it is not just soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress. Anyone experiencing a traumatic event in their life can potentially develop this disorder. A classic example might be someone who survives a car wreck:

You're driving late at night. You're tired and the roads are bare, the low visibility and quiet making it difficult to remain focused on the task at hand. A storm picks up, and heavy rain starts collecting on the windshield. You kick on your wiper blades, and the rattle of the droplets pounding the frame of your car is annoying, but keeps you awake. The visibility is even worse and you have to slow down, which you mentally note also gives you better stopping time on the slick roads. You're thoughts are on home - a warm bed and soft pillow with thick blankets you can curl under after dashing from your car to the door in the chill rain.

You're pulled from your thoughts by a sudden bang and your car rocks, veering unevenly to the right. Startled, you attempt to correct, only slowly registering that you must have popped a tire, but the wet roads put you into a skid. The flat tips over the curb and your car goes into a roll.

When it's all over, your banged up and dazed and can't remember much more than a chaotic tumble off into the ditch. Your car windows cracked and shattered, some of the flying glass cutting into your skin and leaving you with stinging scratches, and your air bags deployed with a shocking impact that (while keeping you safe from worse damage) left burn marks on your arms and a possible concussion. What's more, you've been left hanging upside down, held in by your seat belt, blood rushing to your head, and too disoriented to get yourself down. You pass out, enduring a cold, rainy, dark few hours before your vehicle is discovered and an ambulance arrives.

After an experience like this, who wouldn't be shook up? Who wouldn't be fearful of getting behind the wheel again or wary of driving at night or during a heavy rain? But for someone with post-traumatic stress, it's much more than that. During a traumatic event, when your life is threatened, the body naturally responds with hormones, emotions, and adrenaline meant to give you a boost and help get you through the danger so that you can survive. This response can sometimes leave an imprint - like a shock to the system that was just a little too powerful, and a vivid, detailed memory of the traumatic event is linked with that instinctive response.

The brain stores and locks away every detail, not knowing which details were important and which were not, and many of those details become "triggers" for the survival response. Sights, smells, sounds, physical sensations, all related to the trauma but separate pieces can now put the individual on edge in daily encounters and routines. A bang like the one heard when the tire popped might now set the blood pumping with adrenaline and the heart racing with fear. A rolling sensation might bring with it a sense of vertigo. Bug bites might feel like the sting of the glass cuts. Showers may remind you of the cold rain.

Someone who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder is visited by their trauma again and again as they strive to simply go through their daily routines. Constant triggering of the body's survival mechanisms leaves this person tense, anxious, irritable, short-tempered, edgy, nervous, jumpy.... It is not something that is easily corrected, because it is not logical. It is a pure, instinctive, emotional response that has to be retrained with desensitization therapy in a safe setting with professional assistance.

PTSD is not just a soldier's difficulty. People who have never seen battle have seen trauma - many within their own homes. Domestic violence is a major contributor to the numbers of individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress. The instincts that helped these individuals survive turbulent times are now a detriment to their sanity, and the process of healing the damage done to the mind is usually life-long.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)