Causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

a.   Risk factors
There are several risk factors for PTSD. Having experienced traumatic events, predictors of PTSD include a perceived threat to life, female gender, separation from parents in childhood, a history of disorders in the family, various previous traumatic experiences, and previously experienced disorders ( an anxiety disorder or depression ).(Breslau et al, 1997,1999).
Having high intelligence seems to be a protective factor, perhaps because it is associated with better coping skills ( Macklin et al,1998). The prevalence of PTSD also increases with the severity of the traumatic event: for example, the higher the combat experience, the greater the risk. Among those with a family history of the disorder, even little combat experience leads to a high incidence rate of PTSD ( Foy et al, 1987 ).
Dissociative symptoms at the time of trauma also increase the likelihood of PTSD (Ehlers et al, 1998). Dissociation can have a role in the persistence of the disorder because it prevents the patient from confronting memories of the trauma.
Keane and colleagues (2006 ) grouped the risk factors for PTSD into 3 categories, namely:
* Factors that already exist and are unique to each individual,
Pre-existing factors, such as genetic contributions, such as gender; men are more likely to experience trauma ( such as a fight ) while women are more likely to experience PTSD.
* Factors associated with traumatic events
Derived from the cause of the occurrence of traumatic events. One example is the experience of bodily injury. In one study, wounded soldiers were more likely to experience PTSD than those who were involved in the same battle, but not injured ( Koren et al, 2005 ).

 Events that follow a traumatic experience.
The third factor is focusing on what happened after the trauma. 
b.   Psychological factors
Study theorists assume that PTSD occurs due to classical conditioning to fear (Fairbank & Brown, 1987). A woman who has been raped, for example, may be afraid to walk in a certain neighborhood ( CS ) because she was raped there (UCS). Based on said classically conditioned fear, avoidance occurs that is negatively reinforced by the reduced fear produced by non-existence in the CS.
A psychodynamic theory proposed by Horowitz (1986, 1990 ) states that memories of traumatic events appear constantly in a person's mind and are so painful that they consciously suppress or repress them.
c.   Biological factors
A family history of anxiety indicates an overarching biological vulnerability to PTSD. True and colleagues (1993) report that, given the same amount of combat exposure and having twins who experience PTSD, a monozygotic (identical) twin pair is more likely to develop PTSD than a dizygotic twin pair. This suggests a certain genetic influence on the development of PTSD.
d.   Social and cultural factors
Social and cultural factors play an important role in the development of PTSD ( eg, Carroll et al, 1985 ). The results of a number of studies have consistently shown that if we have a strong and supportive group of people, then we are much less likely to develop PTSD after experiencing trauma. The wider and deeper the social support network, the less chance of developing PTSD.
Examples of traumatic events that can cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) include:
§ War
 ④natural disasters
④ Car or plane crashes
④ Terrorist attacks
④ Sudden death of a loved one
④ Rape
§ Abduction
§ Assault
④ Sexual or physical abuse

2. Effects/reactions of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
a.   Emotional Impact
* Shocked
* Angry
* Sad
* Numbness
* Feeling haunted
* Guilty
* Deep sorrow
* Too flavorful
* Feeling helpless
* 'Dull’ and no longer able to feel happy and happy with their daily activities
 Dissociation, is in the form of recurring thoughts about disasters that have occurred, feeling fixated and controlled by events, or fixated on disasters.
b.   Physical impact
* Very physical fatigue
* Difficulty or even sleeplessness
* Sleep disorders
* Very susceptible to feelings and memories
* Complaints that lead to nervous disorders
* Headache
* Reactions that describe immune system failure
* Disturbed appetite
 Libido increases or decreases dramatically
c.   Cognitive impact
 Difficulty or can no longer concentrate
 Unable to make decisions
* Memory impairment
 It's hard to trust information
* Confusion
* Easily distracted or easily divided attention
* Decreased self-assessment
* Decreased assessment of self-ability
* Self-blame
* Feeling easily distracted by thoughts or memories  
* Worry or anxiety
d.   Interpersonal Impact
* Limiting and withdrawing
 Avoiding existing social relationships
* Increased conflict in dealing with others
* Decreased engagement and performance
* Decreased engagement and achievement in school


Durand dan Barlow. 2007. Intisari Psikologi Abnormal (Essentials Of Abnormal Psychology). Yogyakarta: Pustaka Belajar
Erford, T. 2004. Professional School Counseling: a Handbook of Theories, Programs & Practices. Texas: CAPS Press.
Rusmana, Nandang, dkk. (2007), Konseling Pasca Trauma Melalui Terapi Permainan Kelompok : Laporan Penelitian Hibang Bersaing, Bandung : FIP UPI. Tidak diterbitkan.
Schiraldi, Glenn R. 2000. The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Sourcebook, Guide to Healing, Recovery, and Growth. Boston: Lowell House.

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