Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it.
Many people who survived severely traumatic events will develop PTSD. Survivors of combat are the most frequent victims, but it is also experienced by those who have been through other traumatic experiences.
PTSD can be diagnosed also in people who have learned about severe trauma or threat suffered by someone to whom they are close.
Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. Excluded from this definition are stressful experiences of ordinary life, for instance divorce, serious illness, grief.
If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships, interfering with the normal daily tasks, the person may have PTSD.
Patients with PTSD can also express negative feelings such as guilt or personal responsibility (‘’I should have avoid it’’).
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event.
PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.
Changes in thinking and mood
Changes in physical and emotional reactions