What is Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur after a traumatic event. It affects people who have experienced or witnessed distressing incidents like combat, accidents, or assault. Symptoms include intrusive memories, flashbacks, numbness, hyperarousal, and avoidance. About 6% of the US population will experience PTSD. Symptoms may appear soon after the event or years later. Combat and sexual assault increase the risk, while factors like previous trauma, age, gender, stress, and social support influence its development.

PTSD Symptoms

1. Intrusive Memories: Individuals with PTSD often experience recurrent and distressing memories of the traumatic event. These memories can manifest as flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive thoughts that cause significant distress or anxiety.

2. Avoidance: People with PTSD may avoid situations, people, or places that remind them of the traumatic event. They may also avoid talking or thinking about the event, which can trigger intense emotional or physical distress.

3. Negative Changes in Thinking and Mood:  PTSD can result in negative thinking patterns, emotional changes, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, diminished interest in activities, and strained relationships with others.

4. Hyperarousal: Individuals with PTSD often feel constantly on edge and may be easily startled. They may have difficulty sleeping, experience irritability, have angry outbursts, or engage in self-destructive behaviors. They may also exhibit hypervigilance, always looking for potential threats.

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