Trauma & PTSD Psych Week 5. Written Paper: Family Matters (Due Sunday, Week 5)
Context: Researchers have reported consistent patterns with regard to the effects of trauma and PTSD on families. Some of their findings suggest differences in the rates of spousal abuse and relationship satisfaction. Others show increased rates of distress and behavioral problems in children of PTSD survivors and children with PTSD as well.
Description: Drawing from the articles and chapters for this learning topic, please analyze the following vignette.
Cari is a married Hispanic woman with two children. Her house and adjacent houses in her neighborhood were recently struck by a tornado. She witnessed neighbors and family pets being ripped apart by the twister. Her house was demolished, but she and the members of her family were uninjured. Six months after the tornado, Cari feels quite peaceful and at ease. However, she and her husband are having trouble communicating. Frequently their discussions end in either yelling or one partner storming out of the house and visiting the local bar. Their sex life is non-existent. In addition, Cari can’t seem to solve simple problems of day-to-day life. Her children are quieter than usual at home. They are fighting with each other much less, but at school, they are showing signs of increased aggression and conflict.
Written in a two- to three-page essay, your analysis should incorporate answers to the following questions:
1. What specific patterns of behavior may be associated with trauma-related syndromes or PTSD?
2. Are the patterns of behavior consistent with those found in empirical research? Cite studies and findings that support your position.
3. If these patterns of behavior continue, what additional consequences could develop for the trauma survivor and family members?
4. What suggestions could be given in order to improve the prognosis for this family?
Trauma-related syndromes and PTSD can have significant impacts on individuals and their families. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the case of Cari, a Hispanic woman who witnessed a tornado and its aftermath, and discuss the patterns of behavior that may be associated with trauma-related syndromes or PTSD. The paper will also examine whether these patterns of behavior are consistent with empirical research and explore the potential consequences for Cari and her family. Finally, the paper will provide suggestions to improve the prognosis for this family.
Patterns of Behavior Associated with Trauma-Related Syndromes or PTSD
Individuals who have experienced trauma or have PTSD may display a range of behavioral patterns. One common pattern is avoidance, where the individual avoids any situation or stimuli that might remind them of the traumatic event. Another pattern is hypervigilance, where the individual is always on alert, expecting danger and constantly scanning their environment for threats. They may also experience flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts related to the traumatic event. In addition, they may exhibit mood changes, such as irritability, anger, and depression. Difficulty sleeping, concentrating, and problem-solving are also common.
Consistency with Empirical Research
Cari’s case demonstrates several patterns consistent with empirical research. First, her difficulty in communicating with her husband is consistent with research that shows PTSD can impair communication in intimate relationships (Galovski & Lyons, 2004). Second, Cari’s children’s increased aggression and conflict at school is consistent with research indicating that children of parents with PTSD are more likely to have behavior problems, such as aggression, and struggle academically (Koenen, Stellman, Stellman, & Sommer, 2003). Finally, Cari’s decreased problem-solving abilities are consistent with research that suggests PTSD can impair cognitive functioning, including decision-making and problem-solving (Samuelson et al., 2006).
If these patterns of behavior continue, they could lead to significant consequences for Cari and her family. Cari’s difficulties in communication and problem-solving may lead to a breakdown in her marriage and increase her feelings of isolation and depression. Her children’s increased aggression and conflict may lead to academic and social difficulties, and they may struggle with emotional regulation as they mature.
Suggestions for Improving the Prognosis
To improve the prognosis for Cari and her family, several suggestions can be offered. First, Cari and her husband should seek couples’ therapy to improve their communication and relationship satisfaction. Second, Cari could benefit from individual therapy to address any underlying PTSD symptoms, such as avoidance, hypervigilance, and mood changes. Third, Cari’s children could benefit from individual therapy or group therapy to address their behavioral and emotional difficulties. Finally, the family could benefit from participating in a support group for trauma survivors, which could help them feel less alone and provide a safe space to discuss their experiences.
Trauma-related syndromes and PTSD can have significant impacts on individuals and their families. Cari’s case illustrates the potential consequences of trauma on family dynamics. By understanding the patterns of behavior associated with trauma-related syndromes and PTSD, and seeking appropriate treatment, Cari and her family can work towards improving their prognosis and overall well-being.
Galovski, T. E., & Lyons, J. A. (2004). Psychological sequelae of combat violence: A review of the impact of PTSD on the veteran’s family and possible interventions. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 9(5), 477-501.
Koenen, K. C., Stellman, J. M., Stellman, S. D., & Sommer, J. F. (2003). Risk factors for course