Document Type


Publication Date



University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach

Publisher Location

Las Vegas (Nev.)


Posttraumatic stress disorder, better known as PTSD came to light during the Vietnam Era. Throughout history, this stress disorder has been called various things in the 150 years since it was first recognized. However, each new word had several characteristics in common, such as re-experiencing, numbing and physiological arousal.

The process of Darwinian “natural selection” corroborated the evolution of people with highly developed stress responses. Those pre-historic people with the most useful “fight or flight” reflexes became our ancestors. An example of this is that during the 19th Century, PTSD was called “Railway Spine” and was associated with what we would today call “hysterical” physical symptoms such as “anxiety” expressed as bodily complaints (Ursano et al. 2007). $ is disorder was seen in individuals who had been involved in railway accidents but had not suffered bodily injuries.

During traumatic events, it is expected for people to be resilient. However, some endure the psychological stress of the trauma exposure in a different way, developing distress, psychiatric illness, and exhibit health risk behaviors. In fact, after trauma exposure an altered sense of safety, increased fear and arousal, and concern for the future, can affect not only those who acquire mental health troubles (Ursano et al., 2007). It may also affect those who continue to work and care for their families and loved ones (Ursano et al., 2007).


Post-traumatic stress disorder


Mental Disorders | Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychology

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4.258 KB




Mentor: Larry Ashley


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