Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
If you have ever experienced a traumatic event you may understand how trauma can impact a person’s psychological and emotional functioning. When some people experience a trauma they develop an anxiety disorder called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People living with PTSD have all experienced some kind of trauma such as physical or sexual abuse, military combat, or a disaster (for example, an earthquake or a terrorist attack). PTSD alters the way a person experiences their “flight or fight” reaction to a stressful or frightening event, forcing the person to relive the traumatizing experience.
For individuals with PTSD, reliving a traumatic event may involve:
- Flashbacks of the event
- Bad dreams
- Frightening thoughts
In addition, PTSD is also characterized by avoidance symptoms (such as feeling emotionally numb) and hyperarousal (for example, irritability, sleeping troubles, or destructive behaviors). In the aftermath of a traumatic event, it’s important that trauma victims receive individualized treatment. For example, people who have symptoms consistent with PTSD may respond best to structured forms of psychotherapy like cognitive behavioral therapy or EMDR.
In the United States, as much as 6.8% of the adult population will suffer from PTSD in their lifetime. These numbers are often higher for military veterans, police, firefighters and other individuals who may be more likely to experience a trauma. For many people, PTSD can negatively impact psychological, emotional, and social functioning. For these reasons, please search our database of licensed psychologists if you are concerned that you or another person you know may be struggling with symptoms consistent with PTSD. Please know that you are not alone!
For additional information about PTSD, please consider these resources:
- FindaPsychologist.org: PTSD Self-Help Resources
- Department of veteran Affairs: Resources for survivors of trauma
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Resources for children with trauma
- The Washington post: PTSD testimonials