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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Marilyn Folk BScN medical reviewer
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Updated: May 11, 2019

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a category within the over-arching classification of Anxiety Disorders.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that can develop following a terrifying event. Often, individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder have persistent thoughts and memories of this event and feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can result from a number of traumatic incidents such as violent attacks, mugging, rape, torture, terrorism, being held captive, child abuse, serious accidents, a major fearful experience, and natural disasters. The trigger event can be something that threatened (real or imagined) the person’s life or the life of someone very close to them, or it could be something they had witnessed, such as a death and destruction from a plane crash, bombing or building devastation.

Some individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder repeatedly relive their trauma through dreams, nightmares, and disturbing memories throughout the day. They may also experience sleep problems, feel alienated from reality, or easily startled. Other behaviors they may experience include the inability to show affection; have difficulty maintaining an interest in things they used to enjoy; or they may feel irritable, more aggressive, and even violent.

Memories of the trauma can be very distressing for them, and can lead them to avoid certain places or situations that bring back those memories. Anniversaries of the event are often difficult as well.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects approximately 6% of the population, and women are more likely than men to develop this condition. It can occur at anytime, including childhood.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder often co-occurs with depression, substance abuse, and panic disorder.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is diagnosed only if the symptoms last for more than a month. For those who develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, symptoms usually begin within three months of the event, and the course of illness varies from individual to individual. Occasionally, this condition doesn’t show up until years after the event.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be successfully overcome.

For more information on Anxiety Disorders.

For more information on Anxiety Symptoms.

For more information on Anxiety Attacks.

For more information on Anxiety.


The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.


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With effective treatments today, including good self-help information and therapy, anyone can return to normal health from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD.