Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can occur after a person is exposed to actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violation. Examples of traumas include involvement in war, accidents, assault (including physical or sexual assault, mugging or robbery, or family violence), and witnessing something terrible happen. Mass traumatic events include terrorist attacks, warfare and natural disasters (such as earthquakes).
A major symptom is re-experiencing the trauma. This may be in the form of recurrent dreams of the event, flashbacks, intrusive memories or unrest in situations that bring back memories of the original trauma. Thereis avoidance behaviour such as persistent avoidance of things associated with the event, which may continue for months or years. Also, persistent symptoms of increased emotional distress can occur (for e.g. constant watchfulness, jumpiness, being easily startled, irritability, aggression, insomnia). The person may also overly blame themselves or others, show reduced interest in others and the outside world, and may not be able to fully remember the event. It is common for people to feel greatly distressed immediately following a traumatic event. If their distress lasts longer than a month, they may have PTSD. Only some people who are distressed following a traumatic event will go on to develop a mental illness such as PTSD or depression.
If you or someone you know are experiencing any of these symptoms, speak to a mental health professional. Our professionals are available to help you 24/7.