POST TRAUMATIC
STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

An Overview

PTSD is a mental health disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.  Traumatic events can include a serious accident, sudden and unexpected death of a loved one, a natural disaster, war/combat or a personal assault. PTSD can also occur in people who have learned of the traumatic events that have happened to a friend or family member.  Those who have experienced repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of traumatic events (such as a child protective services worker learning repeated details of child abuse) can also develop PTSD.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Efforts to avoid distressing memories, reminders, thoughts or feelings associated with the traumatic event (such as refusing to drive down the street in which a traumatic accident occurred).

  • Inability to recall information about the traumatic event.  

  • Exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others or the world.

  • Persistent feelings of fear, horror, anger, guilt or shame.

  • Withdrawal from previously enjoyed activities and/or people

  • Inability to experience positive emotions.

  • Angry outbursts

  • Reckless or self-destructive behavior

  • Hypervigilance

  • Exaggerated startle response

  • Problems concentrating

  • Sleep disturbances

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of PTSD, making an appointment with a professional mental health clinician may be beneficial.  Techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have been proven effective to improve signs and symptoms of PTSD.  Sometimes, medication is helpful in addition to therapy, which a doctor (Primary Care Physician or a Psychiatrist) can prescribe.  

Risk Factors

  • People of all ages can develop PTSD.  This includes war veterans, children and people who have been through a physical or sexual assault, abuse, accident, disaster or other serious events.

  • Those who lack support are more likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic event than those who have support.

  • Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men.

  • Genetics can predispose some people to be more likely to develop PTSD.

  • Individuals who have a history of a mental health illness or substance use disorder.

Resource: DSM-5, National Institute of Mental Health

Disclaimer: The information on this page is for educational purposes and should not be used to diagnose yourself or someone else. If you or someone you know is showing signs or symptoms which are causing disruption in their lives, please contact a mental health professional.