Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is an anxiety disorder that can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something horrible and scary that you see or that happens to you.
During this type of event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger. You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening. Anyone who has gone through a life-threatening event can develop PTSD.
– These events can include:
– Combat or military exposure
– Child sexual or physical abuse
– Terrorist attacks
– Sexual or physical assault
– Serious accidents, such as a car wreck.
– Natural disasters, such as a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake.
After the event, you may feel scared, confused, or angry. If these feelings don’t go away or they get worse, you may have PTSD. These symptoms may disrupt your life, making it hard to continue with your daily activities.
How does PTSD develop?
All people with PTSD have lived through a traumatic event that caused them to fear for their lives, see horrible things, and feel helpless. Strong emotions caused by the event create changes in the brain that may result in PTSD.
Most people who go through a traumatic event have some symptoms at the beginning. Yet only some will develop PTSD. It isn’t clear why some people develop PTSD and others don’t. How likely you are to get
PTSD depends on many things:
– How intense the trauma was or how long it lasted
– If you lost someone you were close to or were hurt
– How close you were to the event
– How strong your reaction was
– How much you felt in control of events
– How much help and support you got after the event
Many people who develop PTSD get better at some time. But about 1 out of 3 people with PTSD may continue to have some symptoms. Even if you continue to have symptoms, treatment can help you cope. Your symptoms don’t have to interfere with your everyday activities, work, and relationships.
Many people who are involved in traumatic events have a brief period of difficulty adjusting and coping. But with time and healthy coping methods, such traumatic reactions usually get better. In some cases, though, the symptoms can get worse or last for months or even years. Sometimes they may completely disrupt your life. In these cases, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Getting treatment as soon as possible after post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms develop may prevent PTSD from becoming a long-term condition.