DSM-IV-TR is a diagnostic tool that is offered to aid in identifying and diagnosing mental disorders (Hansell & Damour, 2008). Disorders such as somatoform, dissociative disorders, affective and mood, and anxiety disorders are all forms of abnormal psychology. Many different factors manipulate one’s health from anxiety, mood/affective and dissociative/somatoform disorders. The elements of mood/affective, dissociative/somatoform disorders and anxiety is all related.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is defined as “significant posttraumatic anxiety symptoms occurring more than one month after a traumatic experience” (Hansell & Damour, 2008, p. 125.) Symptoms begin roughly a month after one has encountered a stressful event or the symptom lasts for longer than a month. PTSD is broken down into three types, acute, chronic, and delayed. Acute is defined as when a patient suffers with symptoms for less than three months. Chronic is a patient who suffers with symptoms for longer than three months, and delayed is just as it sounds when symptoms are delayed for six months post-traumatic experience.
There are several occurrences where PTSD could be triggered. Events such as work related injury, car accident, and death of a close family member, robbery, or rape, just to give a few examples. Regardless of the event when one can say it was traumatic only if “accompanied by terror, horror, or helplessness” (Hansell & Damour, 2008, p. 125.) Many who suffer from PTSD feel as if the event will constantly reoccur, regardless of the fact that the probability is nearly impossible. Patient’s minds convince them that the event will reoccur over and over until they believe it to be so.
Major depression is exhibiting feelings of emptiness or sadness that interfere with thinking, sleep, energy levels and one’s activity (Hansell & Damour, 2008, p. 166.) One can notice the difference between major depression and depression based on the length of time one is experiencing it as well as he or she will incur “several emotional, cognitive, motivational or physical symptoms” (Hansell & Damour, 2008, p. 166.) Men and women who suffer from major depression have been known to say they feel empty; life experiences don’t have any feelings, good or bad, to them. Most influenced by depression are deeply saddened and cry for lengths of time. Sadly many who suffer from depression are unable to diagnose themselves with it therefore it may last longer.
Those who have been diagnosed with major depression, have the desire to find answers. Sometimes they have a difficult time understanding what is going on around them but eventually come around and the situation does improve. Many times others see the illness and offer to help but they do not accept they are depressed therefore their efforts are futile. Sadly some find that committing suicide is the only answer to resolving their issue.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder occurs after a traumatic event. Age, gender and social class will mask the anxiety disorder. The biological view investigates the central nervous system, limbic system as well as the neurotransmitters when discussing anxiety disorders (Hansell & Damour, 2008). The norepinephrine system is in hyper-drive when one is diagnosed with symptoms of PTSD (Hansell & Damour, 2008). Clinically women are more susceptible to have PTSD over men because the gender roles have not matured to overcome soft sufficiency (Hansell & Damour, 2008).
For someone to be diagnosed with PTSD, they must have been witness to a traumatic event such as an actual death, possibility of threat to themselves or someone else, or serious injury. The longevity of these symptoms needs to be greater than six months. Many responses one has that are diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder include fear, helplessness, and horror. A person needs to repeatedly experience the horrific event through dreams, hallucinations or thoughts as if it were reoccurring in that given moment. Another diagnostic criteria are the avoidance of stimuli from thoughts, feelings, people, and dis-associative interactions with events in one’s life. American Psychiatric Association notes that one must have symptoms that create arousal in two ways (2000).
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is visible in many different forms. Many will avoid situations that cause flashbacks of the given event (Morris, 2012). The treatment is both done on an individual basis and in groups as well as a medicinal treatment. Most of these medications have serotonin reuptake inhibitors that stimulate the serotonin neurotransmitter. Stewart (2009) finds that “Preventing the reuptake of serotonin has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression, intrusion and avoidance, hyperaiousal, and numbing” (Page 461). As research continues to manifest, so will treatments available to those who suffer from PTSD.
Depression can be brought on by a myriad of things to include biology, psychology, stressful events and genetics. Depression is caused by the imbalance of chemicals in one’s brain, or brought on by genetic connections, meaning that it runs in the family and there is a greater chance of one contracting it based on the genes. Hansell and Damour (2008), think that depression has different symptoms based on one’s age, demographics and sexual orientation. Those who lead stressful events compounded with a traumatic event will most likely result in depression. Several psychodynamic theorists think that depression begins at childhood due to loss, personality traits, harsh superego and anger turned in on oneself (Hansell & Damour, 2008). However from a sociocultural perspective, depression focus on ones ability to improve ones self esteem and social support through employment and problem solving (Hansell & Damour, 2008).
The diagnostic condition for one who is diagnosed with major depressive disorder is one major depressive episode or all episodes that are not classified within a schizoaffective disorder. According to American Psychiatric Association, someone who has been diagnosed with manic, mixed or hypomanic episode cannot be diagnosed with major depressive disorder (2009).
As one would expect the theoretical perspective has been supportive in treatment of those diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Electroconvulsive therapy was developed in 1938. This procedure sends electrical ‘shocks’ through a patient’s skull causing a controlled seizure. This occurs for several minutes (Hansell, 2008). Many find results in this type of therapy, but others find it ‘inhumane’. A lesser form of treatment would be and psychotherapy and medication. An antidepressant medication is for any type of major depression. Most who are diagnosed with a major depressive disorder work closely with psychologists in conjunction with medication to work through the trauma.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as it is most if the time called, is an anxiety disorder that is triggered by traumatic events. Major depression is encompassing both sadness and emptiness that is affected through thinking, activity energy levels and sleep (Hansell & Damour, 2008, p. 166.). Post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder influence a persons behavior in varying ways, and not everyone will accept treatment the see the results the same as someone else.
American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text revision). Washington, DC: Author.
Hansell, J. & Damour, L. (2008). Abnormal psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Morris, C. (2012, January 8). Life with PTSD. (C. Morris, Interviewer)
Nazario, Brunilda (2008). Depression. WebMD Retrieved August 25, 2010 from
Stewart, C., & Wrobel, T. (2009). Evaluation of the Efficacy of Pharmacotherapy and
Psychotherapy in Treatment of Combat-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Meta-Analytic Review of Outcome Studies. Military Medicine, 174(5), 460-469. Retrieved from International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center database