Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The global war on terror and military intervention all over the world is a significant risk to the mental health of the military men and women. The treatment of PTSD in the forces is currently receiving a lot of attention but yet more needs to be done. According to Mabey and Servellen, (2014) PTSD is triggered by exposure to traumatic situations that generate intense fear to ones self and others. The current paper will provide an analysis of PTSD, especially in the military forces. Additionally, it will present the roles of MFTs in the treatment of PTSD. Finally, it will provide my opinion about the components of the therapy.
History, Symptoms, and Treatment Issues Facing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder describes PSTD as a situation resulting from exposure to threats of injury or death (Shiromani, LeDoux, & Keane, 2009). It further defines it as an extreme experience of fear, hopelessness, helplessness, or horror resulting from unpleasant events. The history of PTSD links to the historical wars with military forces reporting cases of the disease (Jones et al, 2003). However, it is considered to be a part of human beings ever since the beginning of evolution. Initially, the disorder was seen as a rare condition, and traumatic experiences were considered as severe life stressors outside the normal human experience range. Epidemiological studies have confirmed that the disorder occurs following an exposure to extreme life events and experiences (Mabey & Servellen, 2014). Nonetheless, there have been some contradicting findings indicating that the experience of traumatic events is common and the development of PTSD considered being uncommon. In the early 1980s, the disorder symptoms were added to the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders. In recent years, further research on the condition has led to scientists focusing their attention on preventive measures (Mabey & Servellen, 2014).
Numerous people all over the world, have experienced a traumatic event. Time heals all wounds, and with it a persons grief or pain lessens as life continues. Most people overcome the trauma, but some experience distress, anxiety, and depression for days or even months (Horwitz & Wakefield, 2007). The mentioned signs are considered to be the early symptoms of PTSD. Individuals with the condition tend to revive the trauma experience through their thoughts, actions or even dreams. For this reasons, relaxing, sleeping, or concentrating on something becomes very hard (Matson, & Matson, 2015). Moreover, people, suffering from the disorder, often detach themselves from their loved ones. Studies show that PTSD is the number one reason for suicide in the world today. Supporting this method is the story of a young soldier who returned after his colleagues died in the war. For almost a year, he experienced flashbacks and panic attacks. He later committed suicide after he failed to get assistance at the local veterans administration hospital (Karney & Crown, 2007).
One treatment issue facing the affected by post-traumatic stress disorder is the lack of enough trained and informed counselors to provide the required services. The mentioned aspect is especially actual in the military where the veterans administration lack the capacity to offer counseling services to numerous soldiers in dire need of the service (Karney & Crown, 2007). Furthermore, another issue affecting the treatment of PTSD is the stigma against seeking help. Most people with the disease are hesitant to look for help. According to Hawton (1990), the reason is the lack of confidentiality, especially in the military. Soldiers are concerned that they will be seen as weak if they seek professional help. Therefore, it is necessary for counselors to assure the confidentiality of information during the process. Additionally, they should point out that asking for counseling services is a sign of strength rather than weakness. Another issue facing the treatment of PTSD is the moral implication of using Cannabis to treat it. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding its use for treating the disorder. Betthauser and Vollmer (2015), believe that patients, who use the drug medically for sleeping purposes, might continue to increase their use in future to cope with symptoms.
The Role of MFTs in the Treatment Process and How to Treat the Illness
Families often face problems that lead them to seek the help of a Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT). The MFTs look at people with the disorder in the context of their relationships. Their role is to identify and treat the disorders harming a particular family (Karney & Crown, 2007). They assess, detect, and treat PTSD within a family context. Additionally, they assist family members to deal with their day-to-day stress. For instance, the family members together with the soldiers undergo counseling sessions to deal with stress associated with deployment or reunion. The world is characterized by war, and occasionally, the soldiers will be called to duty at any given time. In the meantime, their families continue to carry the burden of long waits, worry, and grief (Karney & Crown, 2007). Therefore, it is the responsibility of MFTs to provide support and counseling services to the family members. In addition, the MFTs are responsible to continue providing care to the families of people who are affected by the disorder. For example, the military members and families are provided with counseling services such as the Military and Family Life Consultant Program. The program is designed to offer counseling services to personnel and their families to cope with the stress of deployment and reunion.
Additionally, MFTs responsibility is to help families understand challenges they face and change the way they think, feel, and act concerning their problems (Jones et al, 2003). The therapy sessions may involve monitoring of languages used between the therapist and the members to understand each other. Additionally, it may include working with examples such as drawings, photos, and films in the sessions. Other effective methods to treat PTSD include the use of cognitive and exposure therapy and stress inoculation training. Cognitive therapy focuses on replacing of irrational thought with the realistic ones. Exposure therapy, on the other hand, entails repeated confrontation with memories of the trauma (Mabey & Servellen, 2014). The method takes place in the actual environment where the event took place or through utilizing recall methods. The affected are repeatedly exposed to the situation until he or she no longer distressed with the traumatic experience. Stress inoculation training includes techniques such as positive self-talk and forcing out negative thoughts whenever they arise. Other techniques include behavioral training such as assertive training, relaxation, and breathing exercises.
Components of the Therapy
I think one major component of the therapy is finding the right therapist. It is important for patients to look for experienced therapists who display nurturing behaviors in their approaches. Good therapists have a tendency of appreciating his or her client to conceptualize the sessions in a productive way. By doing so, the patients' level of hope, confidence, and enthusiasm improves. Additionally, I think support is another component of the therapy. Support comes from people who are close to the victim and who have accepted him the way he or she remains after the trauma. They include family members and friends. It is important for therapists to understand patients since they support them towards the recovery process. Therapists must find ways to engage their patients in a positive manner. For instance, they can empower the people affected to change (Raab, 2015). When therapists start to see beyond their patients' flaws, they begin to discover their true nature. Moreover, during the sessions, therapists should exercise active listening and interaction. The goal of any therapist is to encourage their patients to interact freely. Through interactions and active listening, therapists learn more about their patients. Additionally, they build strong relationships with them.
In conclusion, PTSD is caused by events from extreme experiences of fear, hopelessness, helplessness, or horror. It is considered to be part of human beings ever since the beginning of evolution. Most people have experienced a traumatic event. Individuals with the condition tend to re-live the moment through their intrusive thoughts or dreams. Therefore, relaxing, sleeping, or concentrating on something becomes hard to them. Moreover, people suffering from the disorder often detach themselves from their loved ones to the extent of committing suicide. Treatment issues facing the affected by post-traumatic stress disorder is the lack of enough trained and informed counselors, the stigma against seeking help, and the moral implication of using Cannabis as an alternative treatment to PTDS. It is essential for families to look for MFTs when faced with the disorder. The role of MFTs is to assess, detect, and treat PTSD within a family context. Therapy is an essential method of treating PTDS. It involves sessions that include monitoring of languages, working with examples, use of cognitive and exposure therapy as well as stress inoculation training. I think that one major component of the therapy include finding the right therapist, support, active listening, and interaction. The present paper has provided an analysis of PTSD, especially in the military forces. Additionally, the unique roles of MFTs in the treatment process of PTSD have been addressed. Finally, I have provided what I consider as major components of the therapy.
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