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SERWAN ZANGANA: A Quick Look At Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the psychiatric disorders that occurs in some people for many reasons. It can be caused by living in a war, experiencing explosions, witnessing one’s comrades or even other people being killed, or experiencing natural disasters and seeing the destruction of one’s home or town.  PTSD can also occur in people who have suffered childhood abuse sexually or physically, or have been in serious traffic accident.

It is common to see people who are addicted to drugs and end up in prison have a history of PTSD. They usually have suffered sexual or physical abuse, such as rape or assault. The majority of sexual abuse occurred at the hands of non-strangers who are either related to or acquainted with the victims in some way.

People with PTSD will have nightmares and flashbacks of their experiences as they sometimes tend to be isolated and away from the crowd. They are often quick to be angry and irritated. Evidently, remembering the events or seeing a situation that is similar to the actual event can trigger PTSD in the person. (Source: “What Are PTSD Triggers?” – WebMD)

Obviously, PTSD does not discriminate as it can strike people of different ethnicities, ages, and backgrounds. However, it affects members of some ethnicities, such as Native Americans, Blacks, and Latinos more than the others. (Source: VeryWell Health. “What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-PTSD”) Many estimate that PTSD affects 3.5% of American adults, and one out of 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime.

The study shows that women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD. This would not be surprising for the reason that women are more vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse which are main factors for PTSD.

Retrieving the memories of the traumatic events often causes people with PTSD to lose hope, because they link their past to the present. This prevents them from thinking positively about the future, and hence, creates anxiety and depression.

The latest interesting research found that there is a link between a Mediterranean diet and PTSD. The study found that those who are on a Mediterranean diet have decreased PTSD. Interestingly, the human gut microbiome has an impact on human health and emotions, but the relationship between PTSD and gut microbiome is still unclear. (“Associations among PTSD, diet, and gut microbiome” | News.Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health).

However,  co-author Yang-Yu Liu of the Channing Division of Network Medicine believes that there is an intriguing link between gut microbiome and brain. Despite further research being needed, he believes that they are shrinking the distance and getting closer to having a dietary recommendation for PTSD, “…While further research is needed, we are closer to being able to provide dietary recommendations for PTSD prevention or amelioration,” Liu said.

The term PTSD was used in the 1970’s due to the diagnoses of U.S military veterans of the Vietnam War, and it was adopted by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 1980.

– Serwan Zangana supported Operation Iraqi Freedom as a U.S Army translator before coming to the U.S from Kurdistan, Iraq in 1997 to seek political asylum. He was granted asylum status and years later proudly became a U.S citizen. He currently serves as a correction officer in Roanoke.


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