Think you might have PTSD? Take the quiz.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder caused by psychological trauma.
Trauma – an extreme stressor involving direct personal experience or observation of an event that involves threatened death or serious injury, or threat to one’s physical integrity. (These are events outside the range of “normal” or typical human daily experiences.)
The person’s response to the event(s) usually involves intense fear, helplessness or horror, even if they don’t realize it at the time. PTSD was first included in the official diagnostic manual of mental disorders in 1980. PTSD affects approximately 5% of the general population.
Traumatic experiences are extremely intense, completely overwhelming or life-threatening.
Many people believe that only soldiers get PTSD from war. This is not true. Clearly military combat and related events in the war zone can cause PTSD (such as being shot at, IEDs, picking up body parts after an explosion, seeing burned/charred bodies, cleaning up bloody remains, observing horrifying inhumane treatment of people, being a prisoner of war or in a concentration camp and living with your life constantly in danger).
However, many other types of traumatic experience in the civilian world can also cause PTSD. Examples include violent personal assault (sexual assault, physical attack, robbery, mugging), being kidnapped or taken hostage, terrorist attacks, torture, natural and human-caused disasters, severe automobile accidents and being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
Observation of these types of events without actually experiencing them directly can also lead to PTSD, if by seeing what happened, a person is completely horrified and/or overwhelmed by it.
Any person who has had this type of experience could possibly develop PTSD. However, not every person who has one or more of these potentially traumatizing experiences develops PTSD.
It is not exactly clear at this time why some people develop PTSD in response to traumatic experiences and some don’t. More research is being done in this area.
Warning: As negative and discouraging as the symptoms and effects of PTSD might be, please remember that there is hope and people do recover and get their lives back. Recovery Is Possible!
Remember: People do recover and heal! Please be willing to seek out and accept some help from a competent therapist who has compassion for the intense pain you are experiencing.
A safe and easy way to start is to take the online PTSD classes from the safety of your own home. Start with the sample videos below, or visit our Classes page to view all PTSD classes.