Topic 10: Women and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder {by 11/29}

Our third presentation – Posttraumatic Stress Disorder – was last week (11/20).  There was also one assigned reading that was due – “The Aftermath of Victimization: Rebuilding Shattered Assumptions.”  Address the following  discussion point:  (1) Simply identify at least two significant messages (i.e., what resonated with you) that you got out of this reading with regard to posttraumatic stress disorder and women.  Your original post should be posted by 11/29.  Have your two replies no later than 12/1.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

34 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anna Kenny
    Nov 23, 2012 @ 14:26:28

    While reading this article I noticed that the author stated that PTSD is usually associated with war victims. I did not consider that someone who was raped or experienced something traumatic other than war could have PTSD. The “numbing” and isolating symptom seems to apply greatly to this. I was reading an article the other day about a soldier returning to the Midwest from Iraq last month, and how shocked he was at how disconnected our population is to the war. This man came back after experiencing unimagineabe trauma, and he was amazed to see everyone living their everyday lives without a second thought of our country being at war. He suffered from PTSD and coming back into a society of people who did not understand his pain only worsened it. If someone is raped, they may feel as if they cannot confide in anyone because they are ashamed. This lack of social support and help for people with PTSD will only exacerbate their trauma. Their assumption of invulnerability is shattered while everyone around them still holds this intact assumption.
    It was very sad to read about the lack of meaning and how meaning is one’s life is shattered after a traumatic event. They lose the sense that bad things only happen to bad people. I cant imagine being in a position like that and trying to “make sense” of the event, even though the author stated that victims that do this finding more meaning in their lives.
    I think one of the best coping mechanisms for someone with PTSD would be seeking social support. The author noted that this is not that easy, for various reasons such as people don’t want to be around unhappy people. Even though it is not easy the author stated that it is proving to be vital in victim recovery. This brings me back to the article I read about the soldier. He felt that his condition was worsened by his lack of social support and understanding.

    Reply

    • Eddaliz Correa
      Nov 26, 2012 @ 16:53:16

      I agree that social supports are very important for people dealing with post traumatic stress disorder. Men, specifically soldiers, and women who are victims of a traumatic event may not want to talk to others because they fear being ignored, made fun of, ashamed, and the lack of empathy in others. They are not sure who they can confide in and find that others are unable to understand what they went through. Others that they are able to talk to about events they may have also gone through will help because they can be each others’ motivators and share ideas of how to cope and get out of the house.

      Reply

    • Nicole Boris
      Nov 27, 2012 @ 16:22:01

      I also agree that social support is a huge aspect in the recovery of someone suffering from PTSD. Many suffererers do not like to tell people of their condition because they are ashamed. Many feel they do not know who they can confide in for fear of being mad fun of or something of that nature.

      Reply

      • Gianna Paolini
        Dec 03, 2012 @ 11:01:53

        I like what you said about social support. I feel like it is important to be supportive and know a person cares in these types of situations.

        Reply

    • Kathy Wilbur
      Nov 28, 2012 @ 12:24:26

      Anna, I think your point about PTSD and the importance of social support is critical to helping those with the disorder. It seems that our society hasn’t been great at identifying and supporting people with PTSD, when really it is one of the most sympathy-inducing disorders. I wonder how we could support these people more, or at least help them feel that others can relate to them and help them with their problems.

      Reply

    • Morgan Long
      Nov 28, 2012 @ 18:04:07

      I think that having support after a traumatic event is huge. Maybe war veterans suffering from PTSD felt they did not recieve enough support when they returned home. However, I think that it would be very difficult to be there for someone when you really have no idea what they have been through. This goes for all victims and not just war veterans.

      Reply

  2. Avnee Patel
    Nov 25, 2012 @ 20:11:23

    This article gave an interesting incite on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When I think of people to suffer from PTSD what comes to my mind are people who have been exposed to war and military combat. After reading the article and from the class presentation I learned that people who had experienced traumatic events such as rape, kidnapped, accidents and disaster can also have PTSD. I found it interesting that coping with victimization involves coming to terms with the shattered assumptions and reestablishing a conceptual system that will allow the victim to function again effectively. The victims have to realize that bad things do happen in the world and can happen to one-self. I found it interesting those individuals who have defined themselves as victims and the situation as victimization can have a change in their behavior. The article uses an example of robbery victims who put new locks on their doors and bars on their windows, while some even refrain from going out at night. These changes in behavior can give the victim more control of the environment.

    Reply

    • Eddaliz Correa
      Nov 26, 2012 @ 16:49:32

      I also found it interesting that after a traumatic event occurs people’s behaviors may change. A woman that has been raped may be fearful of going near men, being alone, or trusting anyone. While a person who has been taken hostage may be fearful of leaving their house at all in fear of being taken away from home. These victims try their hardest to stay safe from ever coming close to that event again and often times find themselves stuck in their house in fear of not alone that event happening again but everything; even going out shopping. They stay where they feel safest which is usually their home.

      Reply

    • Nicole Boris
      Nov 27, 2012 @ 16:35:48

      I also found it interesting that PTSD can cause an indivudual to have a change in behavior. An example of this is when a woman is raped she could suddenly fear all men assuming that all men are like the one that raped her.

      Reply

      • Anna Kenny
        Nov 28, 2012 @ 14:50:19

        I cant even imagine what these victims endure. it must be very difficult for people suffering from PTSD, specifically rape victims to trust men again. I still believe that support is a big factor in recovery, even if it is something that must be continued through out their lifetime.

        Reply

    • Alyssa DelMonaco
      Nov 28, 2012 @ 18:56:39

      Every time I thought of PTSD, I also thought of people who have been to war. This article, as well as the presentation in class, gave me a clear view of how PTSD can affect people who have been exposed to all types of incidents. Things such as rape, disasters, car accidents, serious illnesses, and violent crime acts can all cause a person to develop PTSD. I also found it interesting how the article described how people who have experienced this kind of trauma have to change their assumptions and personal theories on life in order to cope with victimization. Changing their outlook on life may allow them the freedom to be able to function effectively again.

      Reply

    • Anna Kenny
      Nov 28, 2012 @ 19:08:41

      The assumptions concept was really interesting to me as well. I know that personally I never think these things are going to happen to me, which is one of the assumptions. I feel as if something traumatic did happen to me of this nature, many of my assumptions about life would be broken.

      Reply

      • Gianna Paolini
        Dec 03, 2012 @ 11:03:25

        I agree I feel that if anything like this happened to me it would affect certain aspects of my life forever which is so sad that one bad event can affect you for ever and the other said part is that you cannot do anything about it.

        Reply

  3. Eddaliz Correa
    Nov 26, 2012 @ 16:46:04

    Post traumatic stress disorder is the development of a characteristic of symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor. I always thought this disorder was only characterized as someone who went through a traumatic event and was just very fearful or nervous many times of the event recurring. I did not think it is as technical as it is. There are specific definitions and guidelines that are followed to see if someone can be diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. For example someone’s diagnosis can be triggered by a violent personal assault and even under that there are subcategories such as sexual assault, physical attack, robbery, mugging, etc. The victims even blame themselves at times for what happened as if they deserved what happened to them because they were mean to someone the day before or God wanted it to happen. I also found it interesting that the article says the disorder may last longer if the stressor was of human design. By this it means if someone was tortured by another such as rape or torture. I think this may be because it is easier to remember and harder to forget that another human could harm someone the way they were harmed. What also resonated with me is the way they go about helping the person recover. They try to have the person talk about what happened and in a way get them to do it enough that they are able to at least open up about it instead of shutting people out and keeping the emotions inside. I learned that social supports are a great way to help people with post traumatic stress disorder; they know they’re not alone and are able to talk to others who are going through the same things.

    Reply

    • Chris Bozarjian
      Nov 28, 2012 @ 16:57:05

      I feel the same way as you do with my initial view on PTSD. I thought that post traumatic stress disorder had to do with someone who had gone through a traumatic event and thats why I usually connect war veterans with PTSD. However it really is much more technical and people can suffer from PTSD from many different situations.

      Reply

  4. Nicole Boris
    Nov 26, 2012 @ 17:43:03

    I have always associated PTSD with war veterens or anyone that has been in war. When I read in the article all of the ways that one can develop PTSD I was quite shocked. One was that one can develop PTSD is from being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. This was strange to me. PTSD is associated with such traumatizing events that I always associated it with violence not something as simple as learning about a serious illness.
    Another part of the article that I found interesting was learning that after a traumatic even an individual may have a change of behavior. For example if a woman is raped by a man she may become fearful of men and never go near them. This could result in the individual become an outcast because she is too afraid to leave her home for fear that all men are the same as teh moster that raped her.

    Reply

    • Kathy Wilbur
      Nov 28, 2012 @ 12:29:03

      Nicole, I was also completely shocked that PTSD is common in people other than veterans. I kind of expected it to occur in those who have been raped or tortured, but like you said I would never imagine that those diagnosed with a terminal illness could be affected by it. It seems strange to me, almost like what these people really suffer from is extreme stress and depression, not necessarily a reaction to the event of their diagnosis. I’d be interested to see a specific study on them, as I find that fascinating.

      Reply

    • Avnee Patel
      Nov 28, 2012 @ 17:50:08

      I also associated PTSD with war veterans, but the article talked about other events which can also cause PTSD. I also found it strange that people who have suffered from a life-threatening illness can also have PTSD. I guess people who suffered from cancer can have traumatizing events from their chemotherapy or surgeries they went through which can bring back painful memories.

      Reply

  5. Kathy Wilbur
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 11:22:08

    One part of the reading that particularly stuck out to me was the section on changing behaviors. It seemed to suggest that when rape victims, mugging victims, etc. change their address or other behaviors really helped the victims heal and move on. While I’m glad to hear something so basic could really make a difference, when I relate this to veterans of war I don’t see that this works. If it did, wouldn’t their leaving the war zone seriously diminish their PTSD reactions? It clearly doesn’t for most, unfortunately.
    The second part of the reading that was incredibly fascinating to me was the part about how self-blame might actually be helpful to victims. At first glance, this seems ridiculous and something society most often advocates against. However, I thought it was really eye-opening that some psychologists consider self-blame to be an indicator of good coping. The concept of behavioral self-blame as adaptive and characterological self-blame as maladaptive was also interesting but didn’t make much sense to me, as I have a hard time believing that blaming oneself for a situation is just as bad as blaming one’s inner qualities.

    Reply

    • Chris Bozarjian
      Nov 28, 2012 @ 16:53:47

      I agree with your second paragraph, I was also really interested with how self blame could actually help. It did seem ridiculous to me at first but it apparantly works for some victims. I also like what you pointed out in your first paragraph.

      Reply

    • Morgan Long
      Nov 28, 2012 @ 17:55:35

      I agree with everything you had to say here. I would have hoped that being removed from the surroundings would have helped war veterans with their disorder. Also, I also questioned if self- blame would really help with the coping process. It seems to me that it would be unhealthy to blame yourself for something that you potentially had no control over. I think that is hard to really say what would help someone cope unless you have experienced it yourself. The outside perspective isnt always valid.

      Reply

    • Alyssa DelMonaco
      Nov 28, 2012 @ 19:01:19

      Kathy, I never thought about how some people are able to change their behaviors or other things in their life in order to cope and move on, and how others, like war veterans, would not be able to do this so easily. Changing a lock on your door or changing your address may be a lot easier than trying to cope with coming back from war. I thought you made a really good point by saying this because I did not think of that when I was reading it.

      Reply

  6. Chris Bozarjian
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 16:51:40

    What I found interesting about this reading and PTSD in general was that when i thought of someone with PTSD I’d automatically think of a war victim. This article talks about war victims being primarily victims of PTSD. However further on in the article I realized that rape victims and cancer patients can experience PTSD. It interested me because it made me view PTSD differently and how it more common than I thought.
    The other thing that I found interesting about this reading is the whole concept on having PTSD and how it can change your daily and basic assumptions. I like how it said that you start off with basic assumptions about yourself and the world around you but after a traumatic event your assumptions about everything are shattered and that is while PTSD is a serious thing to have. Reading this article left me with more knowledge about post traumatic stress disorder.

    Reply

    • Avnee Patel
      Nov 28, 2012 @ 17:56:23

      I also agree with you and think that having PTSD can impact your daily life and change basic assumptions about yourself. Since people are traumatized by a specific event in their life, I think it would make them more fearful of the event happening again. If a woman is raped, it’s going to be very hard for her to go out on dates again and be able to trust men since she’s was traumatized by one.

      Reply

    • Gina Holick
      Nov 29, 2012 @ 11:07:05

      I had the exact same thoughts on PTSD. I always thought it to be stricly for war victims, but that is NOT the case at all. There is no doubt that people who have gone to Iraq for the war have experienced many traumatic events that will lead to PTSD. One of my friends fathers went to Iraq right after 9/11 and he only has partial hearing in both years due to the explosions and bombs he would hear go off on a daily basis.

      Reply

    • Nichole Ronan
      Dec 04, 2012 @ 18:40:59

      I thought the same thing about PTS before learning about it in class. I thought mainly the only people who suffered from the disease were war victims, so it’s really interesting to see just how common it really is.

      Reply

  7. Morgan Long
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 17:50:31

    One of the first things to resonate with me in the Aftermath of Victimization article was the idea that everyone forms their own sense of reality in order to cope with the things that happen in the world. The article discusses three basic assumptions people make about themselves and the world they are living in. 1) the belief in personal invulnerability 2) the perception of the world as meaningful and comprehensible and 3) the view of ourselves in a positive light.I know when I watch the news and see terrible things happening to people, I know that it is part of life, just not my own. I too have a sense that nothing bad is going to happen to me even though there is a chance that something will. Victims of PTSD have basically had their worlds turned upside down. I can easily see how that would be difficult to cope with.
    In the other article we were given about PTSD, one of the paragraphs got me thinking. It discusses cultural features of the disorder. I wonder if different cultures are more at risk of developing PTSD than others. For example, if someone grew up in the upper-class suburbs, they have lived a very sheltered life and possibly have had very few bad things happen to them.If they were to be raped or mugged it may be a lot more earth-shattering to them that to someone who grew up in a place where they witnessed those types of things happen all the time. I must depend from case to case.

    Reply

    • Meghan Surette
      Nov 29, 2012 @ 11:49:24

      Morgan, I also found it interesting that culture plays such a big role in pyscholoical development and disorders. I think it’s actually really sad because it is the people living in poverty that are certainly exposed to more negativity aspects of life but even worse that if a psychological disorder, such as PTSD, does develop this population does not have the means to get the help they need.

      Reply

  8. Alyssa DelMonaco
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 18:49:29

    I thought this article was very interesting. One thing that stood out to me was how we make basic assumptions of our lives and develop personal theories of our day to day activities. According to the article, these assumptions and personal theories allow us to set goals, plan activities, and order our behavior. When something extreme happens in our lives, we do not know how to account for it; our assumptions and theories are “shattered.” I thought this was a very interesting way to describe it. The article also mentions how there appears to be three types of assumptions; the belief in personal invulnerability, the perception of the world as meaningful and comprehensible, and the view of ourselves in a positive light. Another thing that stood out to me was the term “illusion of invulnerability.” The article states that most people do not live their lives thinking that bad things can happen to them, and therefore do not participate in preventive behaviors. It also says that the illusion of invulnerability protects us from the stress and anxiety one might feel if they were threatened with misfortune. I found this to be very interesting and true. I feel like most people do not live their lives thinking of all the bad things that could happen to them or go wrong in their life. However, if you are a person who has experienced something traumatic in your life, then the “illusion of invulnerability” no longer exists. All your assumptions and personal theories no longer make sense in your life. You are now living in a world where the constant fear of something going wrong will happen to you. I thought the article did a good job at explaining this.

    Reply

    • Nichole Ronan
      Dec 04, 2012 @ 18:43:55

      The part about assumptions and that we make theories really stood out to me as well. I didn’t really realize that we do this until reading it.

      Reply

  9. Gina Holick
    Nov 29, 2012 @ 11:04:25

    Something that I learned after reading this article that I never knew before was under the title Specific Culture and Age Features. I did not know that if people have emigrated from areas of social unrest and civil conflict may have hightened rates of PTSD. It says how these people may be reluctant to go ahead and have experiences of torture and trauma due to how vulnerable they are. This is quite sad that they are so vulnerable to feel like they do not have any other options than to feel torture and pain. The article says how sepcific assessments of traumatic experiences and concomitant symptoms are needed for these people.

    I also learned that if a child is involved in a car accident, the child does not have the ability to re-live the past like older individuals can who have PTSD, rather they can repeatedly reenact the past by playing with toy cars. They will essentially reenact the car crash. It makes sense to think that the child does not have that mental ability to have such fearful thoughts in their mind as an older adult may have, though I truly believe that since they are so young they definitely need to seek out some therapy to talk about it, or anything on their mind for that matter. The article talks about “omen formation” and how the child may not be able to see themselves having a future. They could also experiences symptoms of headaches and stomachaches.

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  10. Meghan Surette
    Nov 29, 2012 @ 11:44:00

    Something that I thought was really interesting was how much of our class only associated PTSD with war vets. Before learning about PTSD in another class, this was my same association. I think it’s unfortunate that we do this. I think that it down-plays rape, torture, and abuse victims – certainly these things can have as much as an effect on someone as war. For example, perhaps a war veteran has flashbacks of combat when he hears loud sharp noises but a woman who is raped has flashbacks when she sees tall white men. You could argue that the rape victim may have a more difficult time simply walking into a coffee shop than the war veteran walking into the same shop. Still, though majority of people recognize PTSD with war instead of the many other equally important aspects.

    Something else that I realized from the reading was how much class has to do with quality of life. For example, someone raised in a middle class or upper middle class family has many less hardships than those in lower class. This is obvious, but I don’t think a lot of people think about this in terms of psychological disorders. People who live in poverty, more than likely live in towns/ cities with violence, drugs, and lots of negetivity – they are exposed to many things those growing up in a higher class may not ever see in a lifetime. I can imagine that seeing violence or abuse or rape on a daily basis is not something you can “get used to” and it is these things that resonate leading to not only a poorer quality of life, but also pyschological disorders such as PTSD.

    Reply

  11. Nichole Ronan
    Nov 29, 2012 @ 16:56:17

    I thought this article was really interesting and brought forth a lot of things about PTSD that I was unaware of before. Whenever I’ve thought of PTSD, I usually always associate the disorder with war veterans. I think a lot of people do this as well, so it was surprising to see that people who experienced abuse and rape experience PTSD as well. It definitely makes sense as to how they can suffer from PTSD, and its kind of sad that society doesn’t think of these victims as often as we think of war vets. I think people who suffer from rape and abuse could arguably experience just as many, or even more symptoms of PTSD as war veterans do.
    I also found it really interesting that we make basic assumptions about our day to day life and develop certain theories, but once a traumatic event happens these theories and assumptions are shattered and we may change our behaviors and way of thinking about the world around us. I thought this was an interesting way to describe this.

    Reply

  12. Gianna Paolini
    Dec 03, 2012 @ 11:00:39

    I find it interesting that PTSD can be caused from more than just being in a war and going through terrible events. It makes sense that people who are raped or have gone through a terrible event in their life can suffer from it. These experences are all hard to deal with and people that go through these can get flashbacks or be afarid of certain things after which is understabdable. just wish it was easier to diagnose, in the article and the presentation it made it seem that it was very hard to diagnose because people are less likely to relive a tramitic event in their life so they just suffer instead of get help.

    Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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