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ASU Arousal for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Discussion Response

ASU Arousal for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Discussion Response


Reply to Ashley:

Hello everyone,

    I would say that all four categories for PTSD symptoms are all difficult to cope with, but the one that stood out most for me at this time would be alteration in arousal and reactivity. The DMS-V’s definitive criteria for this category are described as: irritable or aggressive behavior; reckless or self-destructive behavior; hyper-vigilance; exaggerated startle-response; problems with concentration and sleep disturbance (DSM-V, APA, 2013).

    In this altered state of reactivity, hyper-arousal continues to produce stress hormones that encapsulate the body and the brain (Sanderson, 2013). When someone is “stuck” in this reactivity, it is not only mentally exhausting, but also physically exhausting as well. According to Sanderson (2013), “hyper-arousal also affects concentration and the ability to reflect on or process experiences, preventing survivors from making sense of their experiences” (p. 30).

    Hyper-vigilance is a constant state of worry and doom. This state makes it extremely difficult for the person to simply relax (Sanderson, 2013). According to Ferentz (2014), “clients find themselves over-aroused and incapable of healthy self-soothing and turn to destructive behavior as a way to regain some semblance of control over their emotions and their bodies” (p. 92).

    Ferentz (2014) also noted that behavioral choices that often resulted in self-destruction were guided by thoughts and feelings of guilt and shame. According to Ferentz (2014), client engage in these behaviors because “they manage affect through distraction, numbing, or endorphin releases; short-circuit bad thoughts and feelings; punish or reclaim control over the body; evoke dissociation or regrounding responses; reenact pain; and communicate or restory prior abuse” (p. 7).

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