James Hicks, M.D., 50 SIGNS OF MENTAL ILLNESS (Yale University Press)

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Trauma

What a terrible year it has been since your patrol partner died. You never go out, and you don't seem to enjoy things like you used to. No more parties with the other officers and their families. No more target practice. No more football games. All you do is sit at home and scream at the kids.

At least work has provided some relief. You haven't had as many spells since you requested a desk job. You have trouble concentrating sometimes, but at least you're not spacing out in the patrol car or shaking too badly to turn the steering wheel. Who can afford to have a partner like that on the streets?

It's bad enough what happened a year ago. You could hold a gun steady back then, but it didn't do much good. The killer shot first. You don't even remember what happened next. You found out later that when you returned fire you hit him square in the chest. At some point you called an ambulance. You can still picture your partner's glazed eyes and pale skin as they took him away. Sometimes those eyes wake you up in the middle of the night. His mouth moves, like he's trying to say something to you before he dies. Sometimes you think if you could just figure out what he was saying, these spells would go away.

This chapter covers the following topics:

  • Trauma
  • PTSD Involves Persistent Symptoms of Arousal, Reexperiencing, and Avoidance
  • Who Is at Risk for PTSD?
  • Repeated Childhood Abuse Can Cause More Varied Psychological Reactions
  • How to Cope with Trauma and Abuse

 

This excerpt may not be reproduced without written permission from the publishers.
Fifty Signs of Mental Illness: A Guide to Understanding Mental Health
Yale University Press / New Haven and London
Copyright © 2005 by James Whitney Hicks

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