Posts from 2018-01

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder




PTSD is a psychological disorder that is the result of exposure to some form of dangerous, frightening, or shocking event or series of events.


To feel fearful during and after experiencing some form of traumatic event is normal, but those immediate sensations tend to dissipate as time passes. Such immediate effects might be the “fight or flight” reaction. Another might be the desire to hide or stay away from public places or situations similar to the original shocking experience. Further, it is normal to experience a variety of different feelings after such a shocking event, but the feelings decline in incidence as time goes on. As such, it can be said that most people “recover” from the shocking experience, and leave it, for the most part, in their past.


However, this effect does not happen for all people uniformly. For some people, due to the severe or intense nature of their experience and their own psychological makeup, the passage of time does not significantly diminish the adverse after-effects of what they experienced. This is a psychological disorder called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. PTSD may be short-term--acute, or long-term--chronic. The experience of PTSD affects different people in different ways.


Signs and Symptoms of PTSD


The occurrence of differing forms of shocking events may be different for different people. For one person, it may have been an incident of domestic violence. For another person, it might be the death of a close friend or relative. One of the most common sources of PTSD is the aftermath of having fought in a wartime situation. Although many people have experiences these kinds of events, they do not all react to them in the same way.


When such a shocking experience takes place, under normal conditions, the intensities of the experience's reactions may dissipate in three or six months. For the individual reacting differently, the PTSD symptoms may take a period of three to six months to fully manifest themselves. For a few people, it could take a number of years before their symptoms and reactions are identified as such. Further, for some people, the symptoms may last for only a short period of time. That is “acute.” For other people, the symptoms may last for many years. That is “chronic.” Regardless of the duration of the PTSD reaction, it may demonstrate itself by adversely affecting interpersonal relationships, educational activity, and work experiences.


For psychologists, the diagnosis of PTSD requires the identification of a number of symptoms which the individual has been experiencing for a month or more:


  • The re-experiencing of the original shocking incident or situation

  • The development of one or more symptoms of avoidance

  • Experiences or arousal and reactivity under the circumstances of particular stimuli

  • The experiencing of at least two symptoms of cognition (thinking) and mood


Psychological counseling can assist in helping you to ameliorate the adverse psychological and social effects of PTSD through the use of a variety of therapies.


Next: More about PTSD symptoms




Psychological Components of Alcohol Addiction


While a significant element of alcohol addiction is physical dependence, the other critical component is psychological addiction. “Psychological” means related to the emotions and the operation of the mind. Thus, the component of psychology refers to the process through which the individual becomes addicted to alcohol, continued use of alcohol, and behaviors related to it. In addition to physical dependence, it is the psychological factors that reinforce and reiterate the use of the substance that has known adverse effects. While will power can be an effective tool in the elimination of alcohol addictive behavior, because it is combating powerful psychological needs and motivations, it may often not be enough to eliminate the dangerous dependence on alcohol.


There are a number of symptoms related to the psychological dependence on and addiction to alcohol:


* Powerful cravings for the substances* Feelings of anxiety associated with the real or imagined unavailability of the substance* The loss of appetite in relation to the increased use of alcohol* Feelings of inability to cope from day to day without the substance


* Motives of denial in regard to the use of alcohol* Restlessness when not using or desirous of using alcohol.* An obsessive need to get and use alcohol * A depressive reaction while trying to stop or after repeatedly trying to stop alcohol use.* Differing levels of anxiety when alcohol is not available.


* Insomnia


* Even after stopping the alcohol use, continued thoughts and desire for it, often appearing in times of stress


* Unexpected rapid changes in mood, mood swings* The continued excessive use of alcohol can result in damage to the brain contributing to psychological symptoms. These may be memory loss, changes in personality, and/or confusion.


Psychological Cravings:


A craving is an obsessional want or need for something. Craving for alcohol is a significant psychological symptom of alcohol addiction. A combination of physical and psychological factors, cravings can appear at any time when alcohol is not available. Cravings can even arise after the individual has successfully quit the use of alcohol. Thus, effective psychological coping mechanisms need to be learned to deal with cravings when they arise. Cravings without the coping mechanism in the individual may lead to the resumption of alcohol use.


Thus, psychological counseling can provide effective and meaningful approaches to the termination of problem drinking, alcohol addiction, and alcoholism. Psychological counseling can assist in helping you to ameliorate the psychological-social circumstances leading to drinking and help you to create coping mechanisms to the termination of the need or will to drink.



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