Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a real illness.  You can get PTSD after living through or seeing a dangerous event, such as war, a hurricane, or a bad accident.  PTSD makes you feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over.  It affects your life and the people around you.  If you have PTSD, you can get treatment and feel better.

PTSD can happen to anyone at any age.  Children can get PTSD too.  You don’t have to be physically hurt to get PTSD.  You can get if after you see other people, such as a friend or family member, get hurt.

Living through or seeing something that’s upsetting and dangerous can cause PTSD.  This can include death or serious illness of a loved one, war, combat, car accidents, plane crashes, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, violent crimes – like a robbery or shooting.

There are many other things that can cause PTSD.  Talk to your doctor if you are troubled by something that happened to you or someone you care about.  Call your doctor if you have any of these problems for at least 1 month:

Suffering from bad dreams

Feeling like the scary event is happening again (flashbacks)bythelake

Experiencing scary thoughts you can’t control

Staying away from places and things that remind you of what happened

Feeling worried, guilty or sad

Sleeping too little or too much

Feeling on edge

Fighting with loved ones or frequent angry outbursts

Thoughts of hurting yourself or others

Feeling alone

Children who have PTSD may show other types of problems such as behaving like they did when they were younger, being unable to talk, complaining of stomach problems or headaches a lot, refusing to go places or play with friends.

PTSD starts at different times for different people.  Signs of PTSD may start soon after a frightening event and then continue.  Other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later.

PTSD can be treated.  A doctor or mental health professional who has experience in treating people with PTSD can help you.  Treatment may include “talk” therapy, medication, or both.  Treatment might take 6 to 12 weeks.  For some people, it takes longer.  Treatment is not the same for everyone.  What works for you might not work for someone else.  Drinking alcohol or using other drugs will not help PTSD go away and may even make it worse.

This article is from NIH – National Institute of Mental Health.