What is PTSD?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition affecting individuals who have been exposed to or witnessed a life-threatening situation and who then develop an anxiety disorder following the traumatic event. The individual is unable to return to daily tasks even after an adjustment period of up to two months. Individuals will experience anxiety attacks or disruptive thoughts when remembering the traumatic event. PTSD affects up to 5% of adolescents and 3.5% of adults. The prevalence of PTSD is higher among veterans and in certain occupations (e.g., police, firefighters, emergency medical professionals), with the highest rates experienced by those exposed to sexual traumas and military-related traumas.
Examples of Traumas That Can Cause PTSD:
- Auto accidents
- Surviving extreme weather
- Sexual assault
- Physical assault
- Animal attack
PTSD symptoms include:
- Flashbacks or nightmares of the trauma
- difficulty sleeping or restlessness
- Being on guard
- Easily startled
- Avoidance of people, places, or objects
The most evidence-based treatments for PTSD include CBT-based prolonged exposure therapy where individuals can face their fears or memories until they no longer feel anxious, cognitive processing therapy, which will help re-work the thoughts that come with PTSD, and medication treatment.