Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that some people get after seeing or living through a dangerous event such as war, a hurricane, rape, physical abuse or a bad accident.
When in danger, it’s natural to feel afraid. This fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to prepare to defend against the danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. But in PTSD, this reaction is changed or damaged. PTSD makes you feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over. It affects your life and the people around you.
PTSD can cause problems like:
PTSD starts at different times for different people. Signs of PTSD may start soon after a frightening event and then continue. Other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later. PTSD can happen to anyone, even children.
The main treatments for people with PTSD are psychotherapy (“talk” therapy), medications, or both. Everyone is different, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. It is important for anyone with PTSD to be treated by a mental health care provider who is experienced with PTSD. Some people with PTSD need to try different treatments to find what works for their symptoms. (Source: National Institute of Mental Health)
If you think you may have PTSD, click here for a free and anonymous screening.