POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can happen in people who have experienced first-hand or even simply witnessed an accident, a natural disaster like hurricane or tornado, terrorist attack, unexpected death of a loved one, war, rape or other violent attack.

Most people who experience life-threatening events recover from them, but people with PTSD continue to be severely depressed and anxious for months or even years following the event.  But there is good news:  PTSD is highly treatable with medication, exercise, and a variety of therapies.  According to the National Center for PTSD, cognitive behavior therapy is the most effective form of counseling for PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • repeatedly replaying the event through flashbacks and nightmares

  • avoidance of any reminders of the traumatic events

  • feeling jumpy or on edge, difficulty sleeping, and being angered easily

Women are twice as likely to develop posttraumatic stress disorder as men, and children can also develop it. PTSD often occurs with depression, substance abuse, or other anxiety disorders.

  • 7.7 million Americans age 18 and older have PTSD.

  • 67 percent of people exposed to mass violence have been shown to develop PTSD, a higher rate than those exposed to natural disasters or other types of traumatic events.

  • People who have experienced previous traumatic events run a higher risk of developing PTSD.

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