Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that some people develop after they experience or see a traumatic event. The traumatic event may be life-threatening, such as combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. But sometimes the event is not necessarily a dangerous one. For example, the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one can also cause PTSD. It's normal to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. The fear triggers a "fight-or-flight" response. This is your body's way of helping to protect itself from possible harm. It causes changes in your body such as the release of certain hormones and increases in alertness, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.
What are the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Re-experiencing symptoms, where something reminds you of the trauma and you feel that fear again. Examples include
-Flashbacks, which cause you to feel like you are going through the event again
Avoidance symptoms, where you try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event.
-Stay away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience. For example, if you
were in a car accident, you might stop driving.
-Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event. For example, you might try to stay very busy
to try to avoid thinking about what happened.
Arousal and reactivity symptoms, which may cause you to be jittery or be on the lookout for danger. They include
-Being easily startled
-Feeling tense or "on edge"
-Having difficulty sleeping
-Having angry outbursts
Cognition and mood symptoms, which are negative changes in beliefs and feelings. They include
-Trouble remembering important things about the traumatic event
-Negative thoughts about yourself or the world
-Feeling blame and guilt
-No longer being interested in things you enjoyed
What are the treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
The main treatments for PTSD are talk therapy, medicines, or both. PTSD affects people differently, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. If you have PTSD, you need to work with a mental health professional to find the best treatment for your symptoms.