Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a biopsychosocial condition that can develop after confronting or witnessing a traumatic event such as military combat, natural disaster, terrorist incidents, serious motor vehicle accidents or violent assaults. According to the National Center for PTSD, an estimated 7.8% of the population struggles with PTSD in their lifetime, and approximately 30% of veterans develop PTSD.
Trauma survivors often experience feelings of intense fear, horror and helplessness. However, children may react in a disorganized or agitated manner. Typically, individuals will re-experience their trauma by having upsetting memories including recurrent images, thoughts, dreams, flashbacks and distress when exposed to reminders of the event. In order to reduce uncomfortable feelings, trauma survivors avoid conversations, people, places and activities that are associated with the trauma. They might complain of concentration difficulty or detachment from others and their own emotions. They may also have problems remembering specific aspects of the traumatic event, sleep difficulty, irritability and difficulty sitting still due to heightened awareness of their surroundings.
If you recognize these symptoms in you or a loved one, a referral for a comprehensive PTSD evaluation with a mental health professional is recommended.