Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD.
Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reduce symptoms and improve function.
The most common events leading to the development of PTSD include:
* Combat exposure
* Childhood physical abuse
* Sexual violence
* Physical assault
* Being threatened with a weapon
* An accident
Many other traumatic events also can lead to PTSD, such as fire, natural disaster, mugging, robbery, plane crash, torture, kidnapping, life-threatening medical diagnosis, terrorist attack, and other extreme or life-threatening events.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can disrupt your whole life ― your job, your relationships, your health and your enjoyment of everyday activities.
Having PTSD may also increase your risk of other mental health problems, such as:
* Depression and anxiety
* Issues with drugs or alcohol use
* Eating disorders
* Suicidal thoughts and actions
If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, get help right away through one or more of these resources:
* Reach out to a very closed friend or loved one.
* Contact a pastor, a spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.
* Make an appointment with your doctor or a mental health professional.
* Talk with a trained counsellor