Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-TraumaticStress Disorder

Frankieand Alice, starring Halle Barry is a manifestation of what thevictims of Post-Traumatic Disorders go through. Frankie has a motherand sister who she does not live with. It is based on a true story ofa black erotic strip dancer on the ‘70s who suffers from acondition called dissociative identity disorder. This disorder is asub-set of the symptoms that are entirely associated with. It is an anxiety disorder thathappens to people who have been exposed to traumatic events. In herpast Frankie and her family work as servants for a white family. Thishas no peculiarity with Frankie. She sometimes does not realizeanything she does cannot actually remember it. In another incidence,she wakes up in the hospital, and she does not remember the eventsthat led her to the hospital. Doctor Joseph Oswald also called doctorOz as one of the psychiatrists at the mental hospital examines thestate of Frankie`s health. The effects of the trauma are immense onFrankie till she cannot remember even a single event of her traumaticpast when Dr Oz questions her. This leads Doctor Oswald to think thatFrankie must be using drugs or alcohol. In PTSD, traumatic events arere-experienced as intrusive thoughts, distressing dreams, flashbacks,and psychological or physical distress when the individual isreminded of the trauma. Persons with Dissociative Identity disordertend to avoid things that remind them of the trauma they haveexperienced, and they will use various responses, includingdissociation, as a way of numbing themselves emotionally.

Duringtraumatic events, individuals associate a variety of stimuli with theexperience of ‘true alarm` and, as a result, develops learnedalarms via classical conditioning. Learned alarms are subsequentlytriggered by situations that resemble or contain features of thetraumatic experience. They may also be triggered by situations thatsymbolize the event, such as anniversaries. Learned alarms producethe same response as a true alarm but differ because of the absenceof objective danger. A learned alarm is equivalent to a falsefirearm. Firefighters still fly into action, but there is no fire tofight. During the initial weeks after the traumatic event, it iscommon for the most people to experience recurring distress inreaction to reminders of the event and to relive the event inmemories, dreams, and flashbacks (Ayers, 2008. These learnedPosttraumatic alarms fade over time. Traumatic events, as a result,of fear also evoke intense emotions such as shame and guilt which canalso be elicited by the same stimuli that produce learned alarms. Insome cases, these emotions may be the predominant learned experiencewhen individuals encounter stimuli that remind them of the traumaticevent. Survivors develop anxiety or ‘anxious apprehension` aboutencountering triggers and the emotional responses associated withthem. This anxiety motivates trauma survivors to avoid trauma-relatedstimuli, and they may also seek to avoid their emotions altogetherthrough emotional numbing. All these reactions to stimuli depend onthe individual`s coping style, the available resource to help themcope, and the accessibility of social support.

In‘Frankie and Alice,` Frankie suffers from the symptoms ofPost-Traumatic syndrome duet o a traumatic incident that happenedduring her childhood. She represses the syndrome in whichever way shecan. Frankie`s immediate environment presents her with companionsthat keep reminding her of the trauma. Alice is a racist fromSouthern America, who makes Frankie uncomfortable. In some way, shemakes her re-experience the childhood trauma several times in the wayshe treats her. Frankie makes efforts to overcome Alice through thehelp of a Psychiatrist. Through therapy and counseling, Frankieregains gradually regains here ego. Frankie suffers from thetransient dissociation with dissociative identity disorder (DID).Clinicians identify PTSD as a component of DID diagnosis (Becker,2013). As manifested by Frankie, there are various aspects ofdissociation that are explicit. These aspects are, however, notsupposed to be the basis of self-diagnosis. They include:

Amnesia-People suffering from DID arising from traumatic events experienceextreme stress. They may find themselves unable to recall importantpersonal information, but the situation is more serious than whatwould be considered normal forgetfulness. Frankie does not rememberthat she already withdrew money from the bank. She still plans forthe money she already spent it. This is one of the symptoms shows sheis suffering from PTSD.

Fugue-This is an experience similar to amnesia except that an individualassumes a new life and has no recall of their own past. Frankie isnot able to figure out what happens in her life. She does notremember what brings her to the hospital and the time she and herfamily worked for a white family.

Post-TraumaticStress Disorder (PSTD) – An anxiety disorder related to anindividual`s response to trauma (Beck, 2012). It often involvesintrusive recall of the event, emotional numbing, increased arousal,or a combination of responses. Anxiety causes dissociation identitydisorder on Frankie that critically affects her.

Basedon the Frankie`s experience this paper finds out the extent of damagePost-Traumatic stress disorder has caused to people who sought asylumfrom the war-torn. Frankie, the main character, is loving andcompassionate to other members of her family, but PTSD weakens her.She lives in a state of anxiety while being dissociative form rest ofthe acquaintances. The dissociation is a defense mechanism thatenables her to cope with anxiety because she does not trust theenvironment she lives. The dissociation also creates other multiplepersonalities she interacts with Alice and the genius who serve asher source of protection.

Theessence of the paper is to discuss asa symptom largely manifested by victims of trauma. Experimental datacollected from refugee camps, and humanitarian centers prove thatvictims of extreme violence suffer from PTSD. Symptoms PTSD inrelation to the time the people arrive in refugee camps from war-tornareas. The three aspects are vital because people exhibit differentsymptoms of PTSD. Some are extreme victims during other show mildsymptoms. This proposal will henceforth provide recommendations inthe best methods to adopt in mitigating PTSD among asylum seekersthrough first suggesting effective detection modes throughqualitative and quantitative methods.

Humanbodies are naturally designed to produce defensive hormones such asadrenaline to enable them defend them or escape when in danger. Thenatural defensive mechanism is healthy because one can avoid harm(Becker 2013,). In Post-Traumatic stress disorder, this responsemechanism is distorted. People suffering from PTSD remain stressedand in fear in the period after the occurrence of the frighteningevent. They continue to be psychologically traumatized even when theyare no longer in danger. When Frankie comes out of the hospital, shehears sounds of a crying baby after she steps on a small doll. Shemoves closer to the crib with fear. She opens the blanket, and thereis no baby or a sign of it. She cats differently after this and doesnot want to be touched by a black man. She hits Cliff, a black manwith a vase photo and speeds through the streets where she isarrested by police after passing out. Exposure to traumatic events isthe main cause of PTSD. Not all events are perceived as traumatic.They must have some elements of horror, intense fear of helplessness.It is predominantly characterized by shame and anger rather thanfear. Therefore, one should consider cognitive restructuring inpatients such as Frankie who exhibit intense guilt, shame or anger orwhen the response to exposure alone is suboptimal.

Patternsand correlations of PTSD among people constantly exposed to violence

Accordingto Ayers (2008), pathological reaction to traumatic events wasidentified more than a century ago. The American PsychiatricAssociation published criteria for the diagnosis of PTSD in itsdiagnostic and statistical manual. The manual identified specificsymptoms in three categories of PTSD. The categories arere-experiencing, avoidance and arousal. The process was craftedthrough the presentations of the DSM-III-R (Beck, 2012). The toolprovided important instruments to use in assessing subgroup symptoms.Through analyzing DSM-IV as presented by the American psychiatricassociation, Ayers identified the PTSD symptom scale as the idealtool to detect groups and persons suffering from PTSD. The findingsindicated a pattern of double-high re-experiencing (87.5%), avoidance(70%), and low arousal (57.5%) in refugees from the Middle East.Similar patterns are evident among asylum seekers who arrived in theUnited Kingdom during the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars of the lastdecade.

Thereis a difference in the patterns of PTSD among asylum seekers that aredirectly involved in combat and those who are survivors of othertraumatic events such as rape, torture, exposure to bombing scenes,and the exposure to the sounds of rifles. Those involved in combatexhibit severe symptoms of hyper-arousal than symptoms ofre-experiencing or avoiding trauma-related incidents. There is aclose relationship among old age, cumulative trauma, depression,PTSD, and increasing risk of disability among victims of war (Finley,Baker, Pugh &amp Peterson, 2010. Older people are likely to meetthe DSMIV diagnostic criteria while children especially below the ageof six are less likely to meet the criteria. They are also associatedwith frequent diagnosis, higher severity scores of PTSD, the greaterlevel of arousal symptoms, a tendency of persisting symptoms, and ahigher level of general symptomatic distress. Older victims of warshow higher arousal and avoidance symptoms and are more resistance totreatment. There is no particular research that singles out anygender differences in the patterns of PTSD among older victims ofwar.


Victimsstruggle with grief, anger, fear, dread, and avoidance since thecrisis began until their settlement in their destinations of asylum.Some of them become so traumatized that they cannot cope with the newlife in an asylum.

Practicalexperiences from a research point of view

Theconvenience sample of adult asylum seekers from the Middle Eastincludes those who resettled in the United Kingdom between FebruaryTo June 2013.The selection criteria include: (a) Being an asylumseeker from the middle east above age 18 years or older, (b) havingresettled in the United Kingdom from the year 2001 due to the crisisin the Middle East, (c) being capable of providing informed consent.Of the valid 120 cases, 54 (42%) were from Scotland and Wales while75 (58%) were from England. There were 71 (55%) men and 58 (45%)women. The average is 35 years (SD=14), ranging from 18 to 79, and41% were older than 35 years. The average years of education is 11years (SD=4), ranging from 0 to 17. The majority of participantsidentified themselves as Afghans (n=127, 98%) and Muslim (n=124,96%). Most of the respondents were married and had settled with theirspouses (n= 86, 67%). They came from different occupationalbackgrounds. There are no differences between the two samples withrespect to the demographic characteristics or indeed any of themeasures. The PTSD symptom scale is used to ascertain PTSD symptomsin the sample group and subgroup patterns.

Thereis an excellent convergent validity of the self-report questionnaireswith structured interviews conducted on a sample group. The internalconsistency reliability for the PTSD symptom scale is .91. For atotal score, and .78, .80, and .82 for re-experiencing, avoiding, andarousal scales, respectively. In this sample, the alpha estimates ofinternal consistency were .93 for overall severity (M= 22`5, SD=11.50, .87 for re-experiencing (M= 6.2, SD = 3.7), .75 for avoidance(M=7.2, SD=3.9), and .86 for arousal (m=9.0, SD= 5.3).

Respondentsindicate on a 4-point scale the degree to which they have experiencedeach of the 19 symptoms in the past three weeks (0=not at all, 1=oncein the three weeks, 2=two to four times on the three weeks or halfthe time, 3= five or more times of the three weeks or almost always.Items of the PTSD symptom scale reflect each of the three-symptomclusters-re-experiencing trauma (5 items), avoiding trauma reminders(7 items) and experiencing arousal (5 items)-specified in diagnosticcriteria B.C, and D f the PTSD, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manualfor Mental disorders.

Frankie`sdefense mechanisms through the scope of personality theory

Hertraumatic experiences make her have feelings of anxiety. The anxietyis caused by her id which appears stronger than her ego. Her idcauses let her got to forget her traumatic past. This happens becausethe id part of human personality seeks pleasure forcing the ego tosuppress any memories that can cause psychological trauma to Frankie.PTSD causes extreme anxiety, in which she constantly fears aboutnon-existent danger. The human ego initiates self-defense in peoplewhen they are faced with danger. Her ego therefore, causes herdefense mechanism to help her overcome anxiety.

Frankie`sdissociative identity disorder is the defense mechanisms that helpovercome the extreme stress. She also has two other personalities asmentioned before (Alice and Genius). They are altered that can takedifferent forms and carryout different functions. The alternatepersonalities for people with PTSD, such as Alice and Genius,normally take different ages, gender, and perform differentfunctions. The most common kinds of alters for people with PTSD arechildren, ‘protectors,` helpers,` who express the forbiddenimpulses in victims. Others are personalities with copied traits fromloved ones, carriers of lost memories, and defenders of the abuser.These multiple personalities largely depend on the specific traumaticexperience of the victim.

Aliceis the first alter for Frankie. Dr. Oswald examination finds out thatAlice is a white woman. Frankie sees her face with white skin, hasblue eyes, and straight hair when she looks through the mirror. Aliceis an aggressive racist who does want to associate with white people.She rudely refuses to take clothes brought in by a black nurse calledFreeman when she is in the hospital. Alice is the altered racism. She represents the trauma that Frankie went through while serving forthe white family. Frankie unconsciously creates Genius through herdefense mechanism. Genius appears whenever Frankie remembers her pasttraumatic experience. At some point, Frankie sleeps when she is givena dose of sedatives by Dr. Oswald. She has a dream that she is havingsex with Pete. Paige sees that. She gets pregnant, and her boyfriendasks about it. Genius appears at this point and takes control ofFrankie. She the talks to Dr. Oswald while in Genius form. This showsthat genius serves to protect her from any memories of her traumaticexperience through avoidance. This helps in reducing the anxiety thatcomes remembering the trauma she went through. Genius also appearswhen Dr. Oswald examines her with a flashlight. At this point,Frankie remembers when she cleaned Pete`s house. Genius appearssimply initiate a different conversation Dr. Oswald that would helpher not to remember her meeting with Pete.

Frankie,the main character, drives the theme of how victims of violence orwar can suffer afterwards. She serves as the symbol of stereotypethat makes people suffer by reason of being discriminated. The filmreveals the effects societal ills such as racism and torture tovictims. Through her alternate personality, it is clear that victimsof violence should get sufficient professional care to cope withpsychological problems that face then long after they are out ofdanger. In Frankie`s case alternate personalities such as Alice showthat PTSD can cause victims constantly to live in denial. They willcreate mental pictures and behave, in a way, that lets themcompensate for the atrocities committed to them. Alice makes Frankiefeel that she still has her missing baby and serve as revenge to hermother and Paige, to be equal to white people. Alice also protectsher from the feeling of guilt and hate for herself as a black woman.Genius is the name Dr. Oswald gives Frankie referring to otheralternate personality of a very smart individual. This is toreinforce the theory of Eros and Thanatos developed by Sigmund Freud.The theory identifies two drives in an individual that concede andconflict in individuals. Eros is the urge for life, love creativity,sexuality, self-preservation, and self-satisfaction. Thanatos is thedrive for violence, destruction, aggression, sadism, and death. Erosand Thenatos conflict in individuals. Alice is aggressive and oftendoes very sadistic and violent actions to black people. Alicetherefore represents Thenatos. Genius represents Frankie`s` nicepersonality that are completely opposite to Alice. Genius, therefore,represents Eros. She wants to come to Frankie`s help so that sheproves to her love and compassion.

Socialsupport services that can help Frankie deal with the PTSD conditioncan be beneficial to the vast society. Trauma centers withprofessional and experienced therapists can offer the needed supportfor people with the same condition. This applies to war veterans whohave many cases of PTSD long after they depart the war front. Thereare other members of the society that suffer from the same condition.As a result, of domestic violence and another form of trauma inducedby those around them. Social support systems can range from thelocal, state to the federal level. However, local support systems arerecommended because of their proximity to the locality. Therapistshave can treat PTSD through different approaches depending on theextent to which the patient is affected. Some of the commontreatments that can be provided by social support centers include:

Cognitive-behavioraltherapy: This involves allowing the patient to voluntarily exposethemselves to the same trauma they went through. This is by takingthem through the same thoughts, conditions, situations, and feelingsthat take them back to the traumatic moment. Upsetting these thoughtsand feelings helps social support therapists to identify thedistorted and irrational ones. The irrational and distorted feelingsare replaced through replacing them with a more balanced picture. Thepatient, therefore, adjusts to the introduced actual feelings toheal.

Organizingfamily therapy: PTSD affects patients and their close family members.Community family therapy is productive because it helps in equippingthe family with the tools to help victims cope with the therapyprocedures. Family therapy helps members of the family to understandthe problems that the patient is going through. If family members areexposed to family therapy, they will be able to communicate andhandle patients in a manner that will enhance recovery. PTSD patientssometimes have relationship problems caused by anxiety and othersyndromes associated with the condition. Family therapy exposes otherfamily members to ways of handling PTSD patients` who exhibitparticular syndromes so that they can have a better relationship.Social support at the local level should concentrate on familytherapy as well because it provides patients with the right healingconditions. If a patient undergoes therapy and lacks the necessaryimmediate family conditions to heal, they may not fully recover. Insome cases, the symptoms have recurred after getting hostile familysupport due to a lack of family therapy support mechanisms at thelocal level. Frankie needed conditions that could provide supportfrom people who live with her. The lack of those systems led her tohave mental alters that represented defensive mechanisms in the formof imaginary people.

Medication:Local authorities should avail medication that can help PTSD patientsovercome secondary symptoms. Secondary symptoms can be in the form ofanxiety or depression. If a community has no access to these drugs,patients will have problems fully to recover due to a recurrence ofsecondary symptoms that can make them slip back in the pre-therapyconditions. It would force the therapist to reschedule therapysessions. To avoid such a scenario, antidepressants should be madeavailable to reduce feelings of sadness and worry. Although the drugsdo not treat the conditions associated with the PTSD, they make itpossible for the patient quickly to recover after completing therapysessions.

Financingvolunteer services: Local authorities should lay down structures thatallow volunteers to aid victims of PTSD. Volunteers can be studentsof counseling psychology who are out on internship.


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