Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Overview

Authored By: Department of Veterans' Affairs

PTSD is an anxiety disorder resulting from exposure to an extreme traumatic stress involving direct or indirect threat of death, serious injury or a physical threat. The trauma may be experienced alone (rape or assault) or in the company of others (military combat). The events that can cause PTSD are called "stressors." They include natural disasters (floods, earthquakes), accidental man-made disasters (car accidents, airplane crashes, large fires) or deliberate man-made disasters (bombing, torture, death camps). Symptoms include recurrent thoughts of a traumatic event, reduced involvement in work or outside interests, hyper alertness, anxiety and irritability. The disorder apparently is more severe and longer lasting when the stress is of human design.

Last Review and Update: Nov 02, 2020
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