Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common condition that can occur after a highly stressful or traumatic event. Many different types of experiences can manifest as PTSD. These events include car accidents, growing up in an abusive home environment, being the victim of a crime, physical or sexual abuse, experiencing a disaster such as a flood or bombing, experiencing the death of another person, and a traumatic war experience.
There are three main types of challenges associated with PTSD:
1. Trauma Reliving: Memories, nightmares, flashbacks, etc. of a trauma that caused significant distress that people feel like they are reliving in order to survive the event. These distressing memories often come back when we see or hear something that reminds us of the traumatic event.
2. Avoidance: People with PTSD avoid thinking about the distressing memories of the traumatic event and try to distance themselves from the people, places, and things that trigger those memories. It is not uncommon to feel numb or disconnected, and some people turn to alcohol or drugs to relieve the pain.
3. Signs of physical stress: May include trouble sleeping, constant irritability or anger, difficulty concentrating, and feeling nervous or alert.
Symptoms of PTSD most often appear immediately after the trauma. For many people, the traumatic experience resolves on its own within three months. For many others, it can take years, and for some people symptoms do not appear years after the event.