Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental disorder that is acquired from a living through a terrifying or dangerous event, and then having a “trigger” bring the trauma of that event back many times. The common “fight or flight” rush of adrenaline that is usually felt in traumatic situations then comes back, again and again, sometimes months or years after that event occurred. Anyone, of any age, can be afflicted by Post-traumatic stress disorder. Some common examples of the onset of PTSD can be physical or sexual assault, stalking, abuse, domestic violence, threats, disasters or accidents, or the harm or the loss of a loved one or friend or other situations where a person feels helpless. War veterans often find they have PTSD symptoms for years after their service. The symptoms of PTSD may worsen, and can persist for months or even many years after the initial incident.

Symptoms of PTSD may include:

  • Hyper-arousal (being easily startled, having angry outbursts or feeling tense and on edge)
  • Flashbacks to the trauma, mostly when “triggered” back to that event
  • Obsessive thoughts about the event
  • Nightmares
  • Trouble sleeping due to thinking about the event
  • Severe anxiety
  • Avoidance of situations that may have reminders of the event
  • Having trouble remembering the event
  • Depression, guilt or extreme worry
  • Shaking and or crying
  • Chest pains, headaches

It is unknown what causes PTSD, although the medical community often finds that it’s somewhat a mix of brain chemical reactions to stress, heredity, learned life experiences, and temperament, coupled with the trauma itself where the PTSD is based.

Having PTSD can put one at greater risk for other mental or physical disorders and substance abuse. If you feel you are possibly experiencing symptoms of PTSD, contact your doctor or a mental health professional right away.

Post-traumatic stress disorder in children and teens

Children and teens can have unique symptoms of PTSD unlike those which adults have.  For instance, very young children may display PTSD with symptoms that include bed-wetting, being unable to talk or even forgetting how to talk, or acting out the trauma during playtime.  Teens may develop disruptive, destructive, or disrespectful behaviors, or have great guilt, thoughts of revenge or self harm.