PTSD- Brianne Waters

The word contagious is often linked with the flu, a cold, yawns, or even a really nice smile. It has been proven why the items mentioned above are contagious through scientific studies. With that being said, the proposition that a psychiatric disorder such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be contagious seems unlikely. Mac McClelland’s article, Is PTSD Contagious?, rightly claims that PTSD is indeed contagious using examples of different families suffering from the disorder.

Hundreds of thousands of soldiers come back from war with PTSD. The disorder is different for each and every person. PTSD patients can suffer from depression, anxiety, high levels of stress, hightened sensitivity to sound and light, frequent nightmares, and more. While the veteran struggles to try to return to everyday life with such symptoms, their families are trying even harder to take care of them both emotionally and financially. Plenty of times, the family of a PTSD sufferer will have such sympathy towards the person that they feel the effects of it too. In the case of Caleb Vines, his wife, Brannan, has symptoms quite similar to her husband. They hope that their daughter, Katie, does not “catch” it as well. Brannan seems to have the same symptoms because of the stress of caring for Caleb, and also the sympathy she feels towards his ever-lasting struggle.

This idea of contagious PTSD is happening in so many families of veterans. Now that it is more and more present, veterans’ associations are attempting to do more for the families of victims of PTSD. The trauma that causes the PTSD does not have to be lived by someone, it can simply be felt by someone in order to have an effect on them. More needs to be done to protect returning soldiers, and now their families from living with such horrible symptoms.

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2 Responses to PTSD- Brianne Waters

  1. davidbdale says:

    Hey, Brianne. I’m responding to feedback requests first. The grades will come in class on Tuesday.

    P1. I see you’re starting with a definition claim. Then you’ll move on to categorical considerations, making a case that PTSD either is or is not a member of the category: contagious.

    Oops. I was wrong. You don’t define contagious, you only offer examples of contagious conditions. It will be hard to decide if a new item belongs in that category if we don’t know its characteristics.

    It’s possible you really do mean “It’s been proven why the items” are contagious, but more likely you mean “It’s been proven that” they have been. Be careful also about all statements such as:
    He described how everything was on fire.

    Now, maybe your claim is that scientific studies have demonstrated the method or the mechanisms of transmission for the flu, the cold, a yawn. If you mean how they’re transmitted, then your next move would be to make a claim about how PTSD might be transmitted.

    So far, you haven’t created any doubt about PTSD contagiousness because you haven’t identified the mechanics. You’ve said:

    • Science has proved that contagious things spread through some mechanism.
    • That mechanism is missing in the case of PTSD.
    • Therefore, PTSD is probably not contagious.

    Except in your case the middle claim is missing.

    P2. *heightened
    FAILS FOR GRAMMAR “The veteran . . . their families”

    Instead of repeating both the sufferer and the family in:

    Plenty of times, the family of a PTSD sufferer will have such sympathy towards the person that they feel the effects of it too.

    Reorganize:

    Often, out of sympathy for the sufferer, family members will suffer from PTSD too.

    See how many pronouns we’ve eliminated?

    A proof for contagion might be less persuasive once you offer so many symptoms. A critic might say: The primary sufferer can have one of ten symptoms; the supposed newly affected victim can show any of ten symptoms: this author is making things too easy on herself.

    I have anxiety too: does that mean I caught PTSD from somebody?

    In other words, if caring for a seriously impaired family member causes me stress, does that in any way prove I have caught something from that loved one?

    P3. “The idea . . . is happening in families”?

    Try to Say Something: Now that it is more and more present, veterans’ associations are attempting to do more for the families of victims of PTSD.

    You wrap up your thesis this way, Brianne:
    The trauma that causes the PTSD does not have to be lived by someone, it can simply be felt by someone in order to have an effect on them.

    But: If I have a sibling in the hospital undergoing critical surgery, that trauma “can simply be felt by me in order to have an effect on me.” The claim is too broad to be persuasive.

    Please tell me what’s useful from these comments.

  2. davidbdale says:

    Ouch. After all that, you never revised. I’m giving myself a 95. 🙂

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