Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder. It is brought on by memories of either one more (or a series of multiple) extremely stressful events that caused fear or terror, especially if the man, woman or child who experienced the event or events felt unable to do anything about the situation that they were in. Essentially, they felt helpless and powerless to change the situation, to prevent it or to leave it.
That event might have been war, or physical or sexual abuse or assault such as domestic violence or sexual abuse by a parent or a family member or friend. It might have been an accident such as a car accident or motorbike accident. Or perhaps the sufferer was inside a car when it fell into a waterway and was unable to get out until someone arrived to help. Maybe it was a mass disaster like a train crash or the sinking of a cruise-liner. Or being held hostage in a situation where someone intends to murder the people he has hostage if his demands are not met.
You can develop PTSD no matter whether you were the one involved in the situation or whether you were simply a witness to it. It is a normal reaction to feel stress when you experience a traumatic event, but for those who have PTSD they will continue to feel stressed long after the event or events occurred. PTSD is characterised by the intensity of feelings, how many years or months those feelings continue to go on for, how long those feelings last when they do come to mind, how a man or woman reacts to those feelings, and last but not least, the manifestation of certain symptoms due to those thoughts and feelings. Continue reading →