Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an intense emotional and psychological response to an event, either recent or in the past, that was very disturbing or stressful (traumatic). It can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, such as rape, a natural disaster, or war.

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include:

  • Reliving the event through dreams (nightmares) or while awake (flashbacks).
  • Being unable to feel or express emotions toward family, friends, and loved ones (emotional numbness).
  • Avoiding any reminders of the event.
  • Being easily angered or aroused, “on edge,” or easily startled (hyperarousal).

Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder includes counseling and medicines, such as antidepressants and antianxiety medicines.

Last Updated: January 21, 2009

Author: Jeannette Curtis

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Jessica Hamblen, PhD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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