PTSD and Criminal Behavior Part 1

July 19, 2011

One of the reasons for an increase in criminal behavior for the PTSD sufferer may be pinned to their increase in their sensitivity to real or perceived threats.  This increased arousal has these PTSD sufferer on guard at all times trying to protect themselves from any slights.  This can be with their spouses, children, parent, friends and yes even strangers.  The self protection urge is great for PTSD sufferers.

We all possess the” flight or flight’ response when we are faced with danger.  It should be noted that during these times many important systems either slow down or shut down so that the body and brain can concentrate on the existing peril.   So anger and irritability are the consequence of someone with PTSD  who is more likely to respond by fight versus flight.

PTSD sufferers have a heightened startle response.  This goes along with the flight/flight issue.  An example of this might be the PTSD sufferer taking offense at an incidental bump in a bar or an accidental spill or into any intentional act against them or anything that can be translated into an intentional action against the person with PTSD.

Judgement impairment is a natural consequence of PTSD.  This means that reason takes a lesser role in any action and extreme reaction is the result since there is not “count to ten” stop measures considered.  The PTSD sufferers are willing to go quickly from a one on the anger scale to a ten quite easily.

There is one interesting side note.  There are some PTSD sufferers who complain about feeling numb.  This is the polar opposite of the above “uber” responses. Some additional problems with these feelings are the lack of remorse over actions, feeling no sorrow for victims of their response and  even trouble sensing how serious an incident or other criminal act might be.

Most of this blog has to do with violence but in subsequent blogs we will deal with other issues.