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What is PTSD?

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after a person has seen or experienced a traumatic event that involves the threat of injury or death.

PTSD may occur soon after a major trauma, or it can be delayed for more than 6 months after an event.

People with PTSD may re-experience the event in several ways. They may have frightening dreams and memories of the event, feel as though they are going through the experience again (flashbacks), or become upset during the anniversary of the event or by other reminders.

Symptoms of PTSD fall into three main categories:

 

Repeated "reliving" of the event, which disturbs day-to-day activity

  • Recurrent distressing memories or dreams of the event
  • Physical reactions to situations or stimuli that are reminders of the traumatic event

 

Avoidance

  • Feelings of detachment
  • Staying away from places, people, or objects that are reminders of the event

 

Arousal

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Exaggerated response to things that are startling 

 

Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH)