Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you've seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death.

"This Jarring Photo Series Captures What PTSD Really Looks Like" (BuzzFeed News)

Causes and Risk Factors:

  • PTSD can occur at any age
  • Natural disasters such as a flood or fire
  • Assault (sexual or non)
  • Domestic abuse
  • Prison stay
  • Rape/abuse
  • Accidents
  • War/terrorism

Signs & Symptoms

Re-experiencing symptoms:

  • May disrupt the individual's daily routine and be triggered by words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event
  • Flashbacks - reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms, like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts/memories
  • Strong, uncomfortable reactions to situations that remind the individual of the event

Avoidance symptoms:

  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
  • Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
  • Having trouble remembering the dangerous event
  • Feeling like one has no future

Hyper-arousal symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or "on edge"
  • Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts

Other symptoms:

  • Guilt/survivor guilt
  • Agitation or excitability
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Feeling your heart beat in your chest
  • Headache