Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a serious potentially crippling condition that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a natural disaster, serious accident, terrorist incident, sudden death of a loved one, war, violent personal assault such as rape, or other life-threatening events. Signs of PTSD may start soon after a fearsome event and then continue. Other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later. PTSD can happen to anyone, even children and can affect your life and the people around you.
Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms)
- You may have nightmares.
- You may feel like you are going through the event again. This is called a flashback.
- You may see, hear, or smell something that causes you to relive the event. This is called a trigger. News reports, seeing an accident, or hearing a car backfire are examples of triggers.
- You may avoid crowds, because they feel dangerous.
- You may avoid driving if you were in a car accident or if your military convoy was bombed.
- If you were in an earthquake, you may avoid watching movies about earthquakes.
- You may keep very busy or avoid seeking help because it keeps you from having to think or talk about the event.
- You may not have positive or loving feelings toward other people and may stay away from relationships.
- You may forget about parts of the traumatic event or not be able to talk about them.
- You may think the world is completely dangerous, and no one can be trusted.
- You may have a hard time sleeping.
- You may have trouble concentrating.
- You may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.
- You might want to have your back to a wall in a restaurant or waiting room.
"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they're supposed to help you discover who you are."
-Bernice Johnson Reagon
Helpful Links For PTSD
- National Center for PTSD - Part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, has a website with targeted information for anyone interested in PTSD.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder News & Research - Overview of the latest research on PTSD, including its causes, risk factors, and promising new treatments. (National Institute of Mental Health)
- Partners with PTSD - Article for the friends and family members of people with PTSD. Includes an explanation of symptoms and what you can do to help. (Gift from Within)