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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (from

Acute stress disorder occurs in the aftermath of a traumatic event and causes significant functional impairment. It is associated with reexperiencing the traumatic event, avoidance of stimuli that remind the person of the event, emotional numbing, feeling as if things are not real, and marked anxiety. The condition persists for at least two days but no longer than four weeks and occurs within four weeks of the trauma.


Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. 


An event will most likely lead to emotional or psychological trauma if:

  • It happened unexpectedly.

  • You were unprepared for it.

  • You felt powerless to prevent it.

  • It happened repeatedly.

  • Someone was intentionally cruel.

  • It happened in childhood


Posttraumatic stress disorder is a chronic anxiety disorder that is experienced in the aftermath of trauma in which the trauma is reexperienced through intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and flashbacks, causing disturbance of function. This disorder is associated with impaired relationships, emotional numbing, loss of interest, sense of foreshortened future, increased startle response, sleep disturbance, hypervigilance, impaired concentration, and irritable or angry outbursts.

Key Symptoms of PTSD:


While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are three main types of symptoms:


1.    Re-experiencing the traumatic event

  • Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event

  • Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)

  • Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)

  • Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma

  • Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)


2.    Avoiding reminders of the trauma

  • Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma

  • Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma

  • Loss of interest in activities and life in general

  • Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb

  • Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)


3.    Increased anxiety and emotional arousal

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep

  • Irritability or outbursts of anger

  • Difficulty concentrating

  •  Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)

  • Feeling jumpy and easily startled



Other common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Anger and irritability

  • Guilt, shame, or self-blame

  • Substance abuse

  • Feelings of mistrust and betrayal

  • Depression and hopelessness

  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings

  • Feeling alienated and alone

  • Physical aches and pains

Common Causes of  PTSD:


Traumatic events that can lead to PTSD include:

Natural disasters
Car or plane crashes
Terrorist attacks

Sudden death of a loved one

Sexual or physical abuse

Childhood neglect


Or any shattering event that leaves you stuck and feeling helpless and hopeless





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