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Common Features of Psychological Disorders

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Sara Cowburn

on 15 February 2014

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Transcript of Common Features of Psychological Disorders

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is psychological damage occurring as a result of witnessing or experiencing life-threatening events such as war, terrorist or violent attacks (for example rape). Sufferers of PTSD often relive the experience and are constantly reminded of it through nightmares and uncontrollable thoughts. During war veterans are often exposed to traumatic happenings that imprint haunting images into their memories that can be challenging to overcome.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
There are many different sub-sections to this disorder like SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Depression is when a person feels sad persistently and to such extents that one may consider to harm themselves in order to relieve them of the pain. It is a serious disorder and should not be treated as anything less.
A psychological disorder, also known as a mental disorder, is a pattern of behavioral or psychological symptoms that impact multiple life areas and/or create distress for the person experiencing these symptoms.

I will be looking at the symptoms, causes and information about both Depression and PTSD
What is a disorder?
Navigating Around Disorders; Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression
By Sara Cowburn
The symptoms, which are most common for PTSD are re-experiencing trauma, persistent avoidance and increased arousal.

Many people with PTSD also have a number of other problems, including:
depression, anxiety and phobias,
drug misuse or alcohol misuse
headaches, dizziness, chest pains, stomach aches, weight gain/weight loss, low self-esteem etc.
Women are more likely to get PTSD, perhaps due to the way in which they express emotion and the way PTSD is diagnosed.
Women and men also react differently to this disorder and express it in different ways. For example men are more likely to suffer externally (alcohol), whilst women more internally (anxiety)
Tiredness and loss of energy
Sadness and loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
Difficulty concentrating
Feeling anxious all the time
Avoidance of people
Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
Sleeping problems
Very strong feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Loss of concentration
Loss of appetite
Physical aches and pains
Thinking about suicide and death
Women are more likely to get depression.
You also have a higher chance of getting depression if there is a genetic vulnerability and if you suffer from stress. PTSD and Depression are linked in some ways.
Anxiety Disorder
Affective disorder
Biological Causes
Cognitive Causes
Socio-cultural Causes
Cognitive Causes
Socio-cultural Causes
There are possible genetic factors that may make it more likely to develop PTSD
High levels of noradrenalin, causing an increase of the noradrenalin receptors sensitivity
Overstimulation of hormones like cortisol
Neuron pathways lose their 'elasticity'
The hippocampus and amygdala may play a role in causing PTSD to occur as they are involved in memory and emotion (fear)
Stressor reaction of autonomic arousal, triggering the release of adrenaline and serotonin in order to prepare for the ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response - long-term exposure to this could cause harm

Self-Attribution (taking the blame for situations which were not your fault)
Ignoring the stress and pretending it does not exist
Feeling guilty
Feeling lack of control
Feeling unable to change your situation
Feeling unable to talk about your situation
Traumatic experiences where you witnessed the event by it being done to you or to someone else like rape, war, childhood abuse, threats of death to yourself or to others
This can depend on culture
Therefore, this varies from person to person - some people might be more emotionally affected by these events than others
Biological Causes
Genetic factors
Neurotransmitters of the brain do not adequately communicate (e.g. serotonin, dopamine etc.)
It has been found that patients also had high cortisol levels
However, majority of causes are cognitive.
Most likely, depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
People who suffer from depression are usually negative and have irrational, exaggerated expectations of how events should be. When positive and negative events occur, they are usually more inclined to focus on the negative events. There is also self-blame and dispositional factors that could occur.
Can be influenced by culture
Life events can trigger depression
There could be a lack of support from family or friends
There also could be a history of abuse from family or friends
If they feel a sense of being unsuccessful and other emotions similar, this could impact the person
Depression is common in people that suffer from PTSD. If you have either of these two disorders, it is possible that you have the other. They are very inter-linked with their emotional responses and causes. Women are also more likely to get both of these disorders than men. More research is needed to be done in both these disorders in the way of treatment and understanding more about what can be done to prevent the disorders in the first place. This means understanding the biological and cognitive etiologies in more detail.
Bremner et al. (2003), Rutter et al. (2004), Lazarus (1975), Cannon (1932), Schuster et al. (2001), Shalev (1995), Wang et al. (2010), Carney and Hazler (2007)
Nolen-Hoeksema (2001), Weiss et al. (1999), Brown and Harris (1978), Bebbington (1998), Neale et al. (2001).
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