- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Relationships, Trauma, and PTSD
- PTSD Facts
- Additional Resources
- Helping Someone with PTSD – HelpGuide.org
- Helping someone with PTSD tip 1: Provide social support
- Tip 2: Be a good listener
- Communication pitfalls to avoid
- Tip 3: Rebuild trust and safety
- Tip 4: Anticipate and manage triggers
- Common external PTSD triggers
- Common internal PTSD triggers
- Talking to your loved one about PTSD triggers
- Tip 5: Deal with volatility and anger
- Tip 6: Take care of yourself
- Why Multiple Diagnoses Not Uncommon in People With PTSD
- The Relationship Between PTSD and Other Anxiety Disorders
- Symptoms of PTSD
- Other Resources
- What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
It’s not unusual for people who have experienced traumatic events to have flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive memories when something terrible happens — the 9/11 terrorist attacks and those in cities around the world (Orlando and Paris, for example) or the bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon, or active combat.
Be tolerant of your nervous system: It’s having a normal reaction. Try not to get hooked to news reports, which may seem particularly compelling. Spend time with loved ones in favorite activities or outside in nature, and avoid alcohol.
Learn more below, including how to help children.
Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a serious potentially debilitating condition that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a natural disaster, serious accident, terrorist incident, sudden death of a loved one, war, violent personal assault such as rape, or other life-threatening events.There are currently about 8 million people in the United States living with PTSD. Research has recently shown that PTSD among military personnel may be a physical brain injury, specifically of damaged tissue, caused by blasts during combat. (Research Traces Link Between Combat Blasts and PTSD)
Most people who experience such events recover from them, but people with PTSD continue to be severely depressed and anxious for months or even years following the event. Learn about PTSD symptoms.
Women are twice as ly to develop posttraumatic stress disorder as men, and children can also develop it. PTSD often occurs with depression, substance abuse, or other anxiety disorders.
- Help Your Child Manage Traumatic Events
Relationships, Trauma, and PTSD
Trauma survivors who have PTSD may have trouble with their close family relationships or friendships.
Their symptoms can cause problems with trust, closeness, communication, and problem solving, which may affect the way the survivor acts with others. In turn, the way a loved one responds to him or her affects the trauma survivor.
A circular pattern may develop that could harm relationships. Read more from the National Center for PTSD.
- More than 8 million Americans between the age of 18 and older have PTSD.
- 3.6% of the US Adult population experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the past year.* (National Institute of Mental Health)
- 67 percent of people exposed to mass violence have been shown to develop PTSD, a higher rate than those exposed to natural disasters or other types of traumatic events.
- People who have experienced previous traumatic events run a higher risk of developing PTSD.
- PTSD can also affect children and members of the military: Watch a video about Staff Sgt. Stacy Pearsall, a combat photographer who experienced PTSD. See how she got help.
Screen yourself or a loved one for PTSD.
National Center for PTSD
Understanding PTSD and PTSD Treatment
PTSD Stories on The Mighty
Give an Hour — for veterans and their families
Real Warriors (U.S. Department of Defense) — for veterans and their families
The Gift From Within
Helping Someone with PTSD – HelpGuide.org
PTSD can take a heavy toll on relationships. It can be hard to understand your loved one’s behavior—why they are less affectionate and more volatile. You may feel you’re walking on eggshells or living with a stranger.
You may have to take on a bigger share of household tasks, deal with the frustration of a loved one who won’t open up, or even deal with anger or disturbing behavior.
The symptoms of PTSD can also lead to job loss, substance abuse, and other problems that affect the whole family.
It’s hard not to take the symptoms of PTSD personally, but it’s important to remember that a person with PTSD may not always have control over their behavior. Your loved one’s nervous system is “stuck” in a state of constant alert, making them continually feel vulnerable and unsafe.
This can lead to anger, irritability, depression, mistrust, and other PTSD symptoms that your loved one can’t simply choose to turn off.
With the right support from friends and family, though, your loved one’s nervous system can become “unstuck” and they can finally move on from the traumatic event.
Helping someone with PTSD tip 1: Provide social support
It’s common for people with PTSD to withdraw from friends and family. While it’s important to respect your loved one’s boundaries, your comfort and support can help the person with PTSD overcome feelings of helplessness, grief, and despair. In fact, trauma experts believe that face-to-face support from others is the most important factor in PTSD recovery.
Knowing how to best demonstrate your love and support for someone with PTSD isn’t always easy. You can’t force your loved one to get better, but you can play a major role in the healing process by simply spending time together.
Don’t pressure your loved one into talking. It can be very difficult for people with PTSD to talk about their traumatic experiences. For some, it can even make them feel worse.
Instead, let them know you’re willing to listen when they want to talk, or just hang out when they don’t.
Comfort for someone with PTSD comes from feeling engaged and accepted by you, not necessarily from talking.
Do “normal” things with your loved one, things that have nothing to do with PTSD or the traumatic experience. Encourage your loved one to participate in rhythmic exercise, seek out friends, and pursue hobbies that bring pleasure. Take a fitness class together, go dancing, or set a regular lunch date with friends and family.
Let your loved one take the lead, rather than telling him or her what to do. Everyone with PTSD is different but most people instinctively know what makes them feel calm and safe. Take cues from your loved one as to how you can best provide support and companionship.
Manage your own stress. The more calm, relaxed, and focused you are, the better you’ll be able to help your loved one.
Be patient. Recovery is a process that takes time and often involves setbacks. The important thing is to stay positive and maintain support for your loved one.
Educate yourself about PTSD. The more you know about the symptoms, effects, and treatment options, the better equipped you’ll be to help your loved one, understand what they are going through, and keep things in perspective.
Accept (and expect) mixed feelings. As you go through the emotional wringer, be prepared for a complicated mix of feelings—some of which you’ll never want to admit. Just remember, having negative feelings toward your family member doesn’t mean you don’t love them.
Tip 2: Be a good listener
While you shouldn’t push a person with PTSD to talk, if they do choose to share, try to listen without expectations or judgments. Make it clear that you’re interested and that you care, but don’t worry about giving advice. It’s the act of listening attentively that is helpful to your loved one, not what you say.
A person with PTSD may need to talk about the traumatic event over and over again. This is part of the healing process, so avoid the temptation to tell your loved one to stop rehashing the past and move on.
Some of the things your loved one tells you might be very hard to listen to, but it’s important to respect their feelings and reactions. If you come across as disapproving or judgmental, they are unly to open up to you again.
Communication pitfalls to avoid
- Give easy answers or blithely tell your loved one everything is going to be okay
- Stop your loved one from talking about their feelings or fears
- Offer unsolicited advice or tell your loved one what they “should” do
- Blame all of your relationship or family problems on your loved one’s PTSD
- Invalidate, minimize, or deny your loved one’s traumatic experience
- Give ultimatums or make threats or demands
- Make your loved one feel weak because they aren’t coping as well as others
- Tell your loved one they were lucky it wasn’t worse
- Take over with your own personal experiences or feelings
Tip 3: Rebuild trust and safety
Trauma alters the way a person sees the world, making it seem a perpetually dangerous and frightening place. It also damages people’s ability to trust others and themselves. If there’s any way you can rebuild your loved one’s sense of security, it will contribute to their recovery.
Express your commitment to the relationship. Let your loved one know that you’re here for the long haul so they feel loved and supported.
Create routines. Structure and predictable schedules can restore a sense of stability and security to people with PTSD, both adults and children. Creating routines could involve getting your loved one to help with groceries or housework, for example, maintaining regular times for meals, or simply “being there” for the person.
Minimize stress at home. Try to make sure your loved one has space and time for rest and relaxation.
Speak of the future and make plans. This can help counteract the common feeling among people with PTSD that their future is limited.
Keep your promises. Help rebuild trust by showing that you’re trustworthy. Be consistent and follow through on what you say you’re going to do.
Emphasize your loved one’s strengths. Tell your loved one you believe they’re capable of recovery and point out all of their positive qualities and successes.
Encourage your loved one to join a support group. Getting involved with others who have gone through similar traumatic experiences can help some people with PTSD feel less damaged and alone.
Tip 4: Anticipate and manage triggers
A trigger is anything—a person, place, thing, or situation—that reminds your loved one of the trauma and sets off a PTSD symptom, such as a flashback. Sometimes, triggers are obvious. For example, a military veteran might be triggered by seeing his combat buddies or by the loud noises that sound gunfire.
Others may take some time to identify and understand, such as hearing a song that was playing when the traumatic event happened, for example, so now that song or even others in the same musical genre are triggers. Similarly, triggers don’t have to be external.
Internal feelings and sensations can also trigger PTSD symptoms.
Common external PTSD triggers
- Sights, sounds, or smells associated with the trauma
- People, locations, or things that recall the trauma
- Significant dates or times, such as anniversaries or a specific time of day
- Nature (certain types of weather, seasons, etc.)
- Conversations or media coverage about trauma or negative news events
- Situations that feel confining (stuck in traffic, at the doctor’s office, in a crowd)
- Relationship, family, school, work, or money pressures or arguments
- Funerals, hospitals, or medical treatment
Common internal PTSD triggers
- Physical discomfort, such as hunger, thirst, fatigue, sickness, and sexual frustration
- Any bodily sensation that recalls the trauma, including pain, old wounds and scars, or a similar injury
- Strong emotions, especially feeling helpless, control, or trapped
- Feelings toward family members, including mixed feelings of love, vulnerability, and resentment
Talking to your loved one about PTSD triggers
Ask your loved one about how they may have coped with triggers in the past in response to an action that seemed to help (as well as those that didn’t). Then you can come up with a joint game plan for how you will respond in future.
Decide with your loved one how you should respond when they have a nightmare, flashback, or panic attack. Having a plan in place will make the situation less scary for both of you. You’ll also be in a much better position to help your loved one calm down.
Tip 5: Deal with volatility and anger
PTSD can lead to difficulties managing emotions and impulses. In your loved one, this may manifest as extreme irritability, moodiness, or explosions of rage.
People suffering from PTSD live in a constant state of physical and emotional stress.
Since they usually have trouble sleeping, it means they’re constantly exhausted, on edge, and physically strung out—increasing the lihood that they’ll overreact to day-to-day stressors.
For many people with PTSD, anger can also be a cover for other feelings such as grief, helplessness, or guilt. Anger makes them feel powerful, instead of weak and vulnerable. Others try to suppress their anger until it erupts when you least expect it.
Watch for signs that your loved one is angry, such as clenching jaw or fists, talking louder, or getting agitated. Take steps to defuse the situation as soon as you see the initial warning signs.
Try to remain calm. During an emotional outburst, try your best to stay calm. This will communicate to your loved one that you are “safe,” and prevent the situation from escalating.
Give the person space. Avoid crowding or grabbing the person. This can make a traumatized person feel threatened.
Ask how you can help. For example: “What can I do to help you right now?” You can also suggest a time out or change of scenery.
Put safety first. If the person gets more upset despite your attempts to calm him or her down, leave the house or lock yourself in a room. Call 911 if you fear that your loved one may hurt himself or others.
Help your loved one manage their anger. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, but when chronic, explosive anger spirals control, it can have serious consequences on a person’s relationships, health, and state of mind. Your loved one can get anger under control by exploring the root issues and learning healthier ways to express their feelings.
Tip 6: Take care of yourself
Letting your family member’s PTSD dominate your life while ignoring your own needs is a surefire recipe for burnout and may even lead to secondary traumatization. You can develop your own trauma symptoms from listening to trauma stories or being exposed to disturbing symptoms flashbacks. The more depleted and overwhelmed you feel, the greater the risk is that you’ll become traumatized.
In order to have the strength to be there for your loved one over the long haul and lower your risk for secondary traumatization, you have to nurture and care for yourself.
Take care of your physical needs: get enough sleep, exercise regularly, eat properly, and look after any medical issues.
Cultivate your own support system. Lean on other family members, trusted friends, your own therapist or support group, or your faith community. Talking about your feelings and what you’re going through can be very cathartic.
Make time for your own life. Don’t give up friends, hobbies, or activities that make you happy. It’s important to have things in your life that you look forward to.
Spread the responsibility. Ask other family members and friends for assistance so you can take a break. You may also want to seek out respite services in your community.
Set boundaries. Be realistic about what you’re capable of giving. Know your limits, communicate them to your family member and others involved, and stick to them.
Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., and Lawrence Robinson. Last updated: June 2019.
Why Multiple Diagnoses Not Uncommon in People With PTSD
Jed Share/Kaoru Share / Getty Images
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are two disorders that can occur at the same time. This is not entirely surprising given that PTSD is a trauma- and stressor-related disorder which can manifest in different ways from one person to the next.
As such, PTSD (a disorder caused by exposure to death, serious injury, sexual violence, or threats) can lead to other disorders that each have their own set of unique causes, characteristics, and symptoms.
In addition to GAD, other co-occurring disorders can include pain disorder (PD), social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and specific phobia.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) goes well beyond the normal worrying and fretting that most people experience. It is defined as the excessive worry about subjects or events that persist at least six months.
The anxiety is something the person can’t seem to control with the object of worry often switching from one thing to the next. The worrying ultimately takes up a lot of a person’s day with little relief and to the point where relationships and work are affected.
A person is diagnosed with GAD in the presence of at least three of the following physical or cognitive symptoms:
- Edginess or restlessness
- Fatigue or tiring easily
- Impaired concentration or feeling as if one’s mind suddenly goes blank
- Irritability, either internalized or externalized
- Increased muscle tension
- Difficulty sleeping or unsatisfying sleep
In order to confirm a diagnosis, the symptoms cannot be explained by any other causes or conditions including prescription medications, alcohol use, illicit drug use, neurological problems, or another medical condition.
Research suggests that roughly one in six people with PTSD experience GAD at some stage in their condition. It further suggests that the rate of GAD in people with PTSD is as much as six times higher than that found in the general population.
While the reasons for their coexistence are not entirely clear, we do know that worry is a common feature of PTSD. Because emotional responses are typically hyper-aroused in people with PTSD, worries can also be extended and exaggerated to the point where they can no longer be controlled. In some individuals, worry may even be used as a coping mechanism.
It is not unusual to hear people with PSTD say that worrying about other events or troubles distracts them from the things that are more upsetting to them.
Worry can provide them distance from the thoughts and feelings they are unable to face. Another possible explanation is that PTSD and GAD have similar origins. While trauma is the innate cause of PTSD, it can also be the trigger that leads to GAD.
In the same way that GAD can coexist with PTSD, other anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders share similar origins and overlapping symptoms. Among them:
- Panic disorder (PD) is experienced in around seven percent of people with PTSD. It is characterized by frequent and unexpected panic attacks and ongoing concerns about future attacks. PD occurs in people with PTSD at a rate four times greater than that of the general population.
- Social anxiety disorder occurs in 28 percent of people with PTSD and is defined by the intense fear and avoidance of social situations. Having PTSD may be the natural consequence of the disorder as both are characterized by feelings of isolation and “not fitting in.”
- Specific phobia occurs in 31 percent of people with PTSD and is typified by the fear of specific objects (such as spiders, blood, or dogs) or situations (elevators, bridges, heights). People with PTSD are seven times more ly to have specific phobia as the general public.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been less studied in relation to PTSD, but research suggests that up to 47 percent of people with PTSD may have OCD. OCD is characterized by excessive obsessive and/or intrusive thoughts as well as repetitive behaviors or thoughts (compulsions).
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Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
Price M, Legrand AC, Brier ZMF, Hébert-dufresne L. The symptoms at the center: Examining the comorbidity of posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression with network analysis. J Psychiatr Res. 2019;109:52-58. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2018.11.016
Locke AB, Kirst N, Schultz C. Diagnosis and Management of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder in Adults. Am Fam Physician. March 2015.
National Institute of Mental Health. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Fontenelle LF, Cocchi L, Harrison BJ, Miguel EC, Torres AL. Role of stressful and traumatic life events in obsessive–compulsive disorder. Neuropsychiatry. 2011;1(1):61-69.
Morina N, Sulaj V, Schnyder U, et al. Obsessive-compulsive and posttraumatic stress symptoms among civilian survivors of war. BMC Psychiatry. 2016;16:115. doi:10.1186/s12888-016-0822-9
- National Institute of Mental Health. “Anxiety Disorders.” Bethesda, Maryland; updated March 2016.
The Relationship Between PTSD and Other Anxiety Disorders
There's a clear relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health disorders, such as substance use and anxiety or mood disorders. Get the facts about the link between PTSD, itself an anxiety disorder, and everything from acute stress disorder to panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Luka Storm / Getty Images
Besides PTSD, mental health disorders that are classified as anxiety disorders are acute stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia), generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and specific phobia.
People with PTSD have been found to be at greater risk of having all of these disorders. This overview provides the rates of these anxiety disorders among people with PTSD.
It is quite common for people with PTSD to experience panic attacks given that people with PTSD are at greater risk of developing panic disorder. In fact, around 7 percent of men and 13 percent of women with PTSD also have panic disorder—a rate much higher than what is found in the general population.
Learn more about what panic disorder is as well as why PTSD and panic disorder may commonly co-occur.
The symptoms of PTSD may make a person feel different, as though they can't relate or connect with others. In addition, many people with PTSD feel high levels of depression, shame, guilt, and self-blame.
Therefore, it is not surprising that PTSD and social anxiety disorder frequently co-occur. Fortunately, there are very effective treatments available for both PTSD and social anxiety disorder. Learn more about the diagnosis of social anxiety disorder, its connection with PTSD and how one can get help for both conditions.
Studies have found that anywhere between 4 percent and 22 percent of people with PTSD also have a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In addition, people with OCD also show a high lihood of having experienced traumatic events.
For example, one study found that 54 percent of people with a diagnosis of OCD report having experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetimes. Although these rates are high, they are not entirely surprising.
PTSD may make a person's life feel chaotic and out-of-control. The behaviors associated with OCD may initially help make a person feel more in control, safe and reduce anxiety. However, these strategies ultimately backfire, contributing to more anxiety and distress.
Acute stress disorder and PTSD often go hand-in-hand. This is because a diagnosis of PTSD can only be given one month after the experience of a traumatic event. Yet, it is ly that people may be experiencing PTSD- symptoms soon after a traumatic event.
Acute stress disorder describes the experience of PTSD- symptoms immediately following a traumatic event.
People diagnosed with acute stress disorder have been found to be at greater risk for eventually developing PTSD.
Learn more about the symptoms of acute stress disorder and its connection with PTSD with this overview.
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Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD is diagnosed after a person experiences symptoms for at least one month following a traumatic event. However symptoms may not appear until several months or even years later. The disorder is characterized by three main types of symptoms:
- Re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares.
- Emotional numbness and avoidance of places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma.
- Increased arousal such as difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated and angered.
Diagnosis criteria that apply to adults, adolescents, and children older than six include those below. Read more details here.
Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violation:
- directly experiencing the traumatic events
- witnessing, in person, the traumatic events
- learning that the traumatic events occurred to a close family member or close friend; cases of actual or threatened death must have been violent or accidental
- experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic events (Examples are first responders collecting human remains; police officers repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse). Note: This does not apply to exposure through electronic media, television, movies, or pictures, unless exposure is work-related.
The presence of one or more of the following:
- spontaneous or cued recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic events (Note: In children repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the traumatic events are expressed.)
- recurrent distressing dreams in which the content or affect (i.e. feeling) of the dream is related to the events (Note: In children there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content.)
- flashbacks or other dissociative reactions in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic events are recurring (Note: In children trauma-specific reenactment may occur in play.)
- intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic events
- physiological reactions to reminders of the traumatic events
Screen yourself or a family member for PTSD.
Persistent avoidance of distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic events or of external reminders (i.e., people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations)
Two or more of the following:
- inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic events (not due to head injury, alcohol, or drugs)
- persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted,” “The world is completely dangerous”).
- persistent, distorted blame of self or others about the cause or consequences of the traumatic events
- persistent fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame
- markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
- feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
- persistent inability to experience positive emotions
Two or more of the following marked changes in arousal and reactivity:
Also, clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning not attributed to the direct physiological effects of medication, drugs, or alcohol or another medical condition, such as traumatic brain injury.
Learn about PTSD symptoms in children age six and younger.
Check out the mobile app PTSD Coach, from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The symptoms of PTSD affect people in different ways so continue to learn about it.
What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental condition that some people develop after a shocking, terrifying, or dangerous event. These events are called traumas.
After a trauma, it’s common to struggle with fear, anxiety, and sadness. You may have upsetting memories or find it hard to sleep. Most people get better with time. But if you have PTSD, these thoughts and feelings don’t fade away. They last for months and years, and may even get worse.
PTSD causes problems in your daily life, such as in relationships and at work. It can also take a toll on your physical health. But with treatment, you can live a fulfilling life.
During a trauma, your body responds to a threat by going into “flight or fight” mode. It releases stress hormones, adrenaline and norepinephrine, to give you a burst of energy. Your heart beats faster. Your brain also puts some of its normal tasks, such as filing short-term memories, on pause.
PTSD causes your brain to get stuck in danger mode. Even after you’re no longer in danger, it stays on high alert. Your body continues to send out stress signals, which lead to PTSD symptoms. Studies show that the part of the brain that handles fear and emotion (the amygdala) is more active in people with PTSD.
Over time, PTSD changes your brain. The area that controls your memory (the hippocampus) becomes smaller. That’s one reason experts recommend that you seek treatment early.
There are many. They may include disturbing flashbacks, trouble sleeping, emotional numbness, angry outbursts, and feelings of guilt. You might also avoid things that remind you of the event, and lose interest in things that you enjoy.
Symptoms usually start within 3 months of a trauma. But they might not show up until years afterward. They last for at least a month. Without treatment, you can have PTSD for years or even the rest of your life. You can feel better or worse over time. For example, a news report about an assault on television may trigger overwhelming memories of your own assault.
PTSD interferes with your life. It makes it harder for you to trust, communicate, and solve problems. This can lead to problems in your relationships with friends, family, and coworkers. It also affects your physical health. In fact, studies show that it raises your risk of heart disease and digestive disorders.
PTSD was first described in war veterans. It was once called “shell shock” and “combat fatigue.” But PTSD can happen to anyone at any age, including children. In fact, about 8% of Americans will develop the condition at some point in their lives.
Women have double the risk of PTSD. That’s because they’re more ly to experience a sexual assault. They also blame themselves for a traumatic event more than men do.
About 50% of women and 60% of men will experience emotional trauma sometime in the lives. But not everyone develops PTSD. The following factors increase your risk:
- Previous experience with trauma, childhood abuse
- Having another mental health issue, depression and anxiety, or a substance abuse problem
- Having a close family member, such as a parent, with a mental health problem, PTSD or depression
- Working a job that may expose you to traumatic events (the military or emergency medicine)
- Lacking social support from friends and family
There’s no cure for this condition. But you can successfully treat it with therapy. Your doctor may also prescribe medicine, such as antidepressants. With proper treatment, some people may stop having PTSD symptoms. For others, they may become less intense.
It’s important to seek help if you think you have PTSD. Without it, the condition usually doesn’t get better.
JoAnne Difede, Ph.D., director of the Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies, NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill-Cornell Medicine.
National Institutes of Mental Health: “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
Mayo Clinic: “Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder.”
American Psychological Association: “What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?’
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: “PTSD: National Center for PTSD.”
Washington Academy of Sciences: “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: What Happens In the Brain?”
Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience: “Traumatic Stress: Effects on the Brain.”
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