Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition caused by a traumatic event, whether by experiencing or witnessing it. While it is normal to have temporary difficulty coping, persistent interference that lasts for months or years is typically classified as PTSD.
PTSD symptoms usually start one month after the event, but sometimes it takes years. This can impact your social functioning and ability to complete daily tasks. If you think you have PTSD, it’s best to get help.
The four types of PTSD:
- Intrusive memories. This manifests as reliving the event through flashbacks, suffering from recurring, distressing recollections of the event, or disturbing nightmares regarding the trauma.
- Avoidance. This typically includes avoiding thinking or discussing what happened and steering clear from places, activities, or people that trigger memories of the trauma.
- Physical and emotional reactions. This includes being easily startled, always being on edge, difficulty sleeping, angry outbursts, trouble concentrating, or self-destructive behavior such as substance abuse.
Negative thinking and mood. This includes a lack of interest in activities you once loved, feeling hopeless about the future, negative thoughts regarding yourself or others, detachment from family and friends, or struggling to hold close relationships.
Certain events can cause PTSD. These include:
- Time in the military
- Severe injury
- Auto accidents
- Abuse or neglect
- Natural disasters
- Observing violence or even death
- Sexual abuse or assault
- Experiencing terrorist attacks
Risk factors for PTSD include:
- History of mental health challenges such as depression, OCD, or panic disorder.
- Undergoing more trauma or stress surrounding the event.
- Not receiving proper support from friends and family after the traumatic event.