What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD?

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people get after seeing or living through a dangerous event.
PTSD can cause many symptoms that can be grouped into three categories:

  1. 1. Re-Experiencing Symptoms
    1. Flashbacks – reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
    2. Bad dreams
    3. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.
  2. 2. Avoidance symptoms:
    1. Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
    2. Feeling emotionally numb
    3. Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
    4. Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
    5. Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
  3. 3. Hyperarousal symptoms:
    1. Being easily startled
    2. Feeling tense or “on edge”
    3. Having angry outbursts.

Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic event. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.

*Information from National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)


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