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Imagine the survivors of a home invasion. Feelings of terror and helplessness that shake the very foundation of personal security are the result when strangers enter the home with the intent and will to do harm. Some survivors may resolve these immediate feelings of helplessness by acquiring a handgun, pepper spray, or watchdogs, or by taking self-defense courses. During, or for a short time immediately following the invasion, some people may experience the onset of acute stress disorder (ASD) exhibited in racing hearts, bouts of insomnia, and feelings of panic at the sound of footsteps approaching the front door. Others may be so traumatized that they never look at their home in the same way or feel as safe no matter how many locks are on the doors or how state-of-the-art their alarm system may be. When the latter individuals experience a delayed onset of physiological response to trauma that is persistent over the long term, their condition is described as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This tragic scenario is just one example of a traumatic event that could lead to severe but short-lived stress or a prolonged stress response that disrupts the lives of the survivors long after the event is over.

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For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources including the “Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder” handout. Reflect on the similarities and differences between ASD and PTSD. Then consider that you have been asked to prepare a pre-deployment PTSD prevention workshop for military health service workers. Consider intervention techniques you might recommend to prevent the development of PTSD in this population.


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