By: Michael Appleman, M.S.

What is it?


Post traumatic stress disorder is also called "PTSD." It may be a short


Post traumatic stress disorder is also called "PTSD." It may be a short or long-term mental illness. You may have PTSD if you have had a traumatic event in the past. This may have made you afraid that you may get hurt or die. PTSD can cause an overwhelming feeling of helplessness or powerlessness.


  • Rape, family violence, war, child abuse, fire, a death, or an accident or traumatic events may cause PTSD. Other causes of PTSD may be a natural disaster, like a hurricane or a tornado. Or you may have been involved with something that made you fear for your own safety. This could have happened recently or in the past. How you respond to the trauma is based on what you were like before and the kind of support you receive after. You do not have be the one that was directly injured medically or emotionally to be suffering from PTSD. An individual who has seen a traumatic event can also be suffering from PTSD.
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  • You may be at risk for having PTSD if:
  •    A. You were sexually abused as a child or had something else bad happen to you as a child.
       B. You had emotional problems before the traumatic event happened.
       C. You did not have enough counseling after the traumatic event.
       D. You feel you do not have anyone to help you.

    Signs and Symptoms:

  • You may have anxiety attacks, feelings of indifference, fearfulness, agitation, or withdrawal.
  • Do you suffer from or feel you might suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
    Have you experienced a traumatic event which was out of the ordinary realm of life?

    If think about the event, feel jumpy, guilty or avoid feelings take the questionnaire.

  • You may have painful memories of the traumatic event. These memories may seem so real you think you are back in the event. This is often called a flashback. Sometimes the memories show up in nightmares. It may be hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. You may feel guilty that you lived if other people died in the event.
  • You may have headaches or stomach aches. These symptoms may become worse when you are reminded of the traumatic event. For example, someone who survived an airplane crash may not be able to go to an airport because of headaches.
  • You may overreact to minor stresses that have nothing to do with the trauma. You may have one or more of the following things.
  •    1. Overly sensitive.
       2. Sudden feelings of sadness, fear, or anger.
       3. Nervous, "jumpy," panicky, or irritable.
       4. Trouble paying attention or getting things done.
       5. Use alcohol or drugs to forget about how badly you feel.
       6. Feel numb or seem like you have no feelings.
       7. Trouble spending time with friends and family.
       8. Less interest in doing the things you enjoy.

  • PTSD does not go away unless it is treated. You may be treated in your caregiver's office or clinic. Your caregiver will talk to you about your fears and worries. Caregivers will ask you questions about your symptoms and other events in your life. Your caregiver may also want your family to come to some meetings. These meetings can help you and your family better understand PTSD.

  • To prevent long-lasting symptoms, tell friends and family members what you are going through. Medicine may be used to calm you and to help you sleep. You may need to go into the hospital for more treatment.
  • Coping:

    Teach yourself and others about PTSD. Accepting that you have PTSD may be hard. You and those close to you may feel angry, sad, or frightened. These are normal feelings. Talk to your caregiver, family, and friends about your feelings. You may also want to join a support group. This is a group of people who also have PTSD. Call or write any of the following organizations for more information about PTSD.

    PTSD Survey:

    After taking the PTSD Survey if you answer yes to at least 6 of the questiojns and it is 6 months after the event (or events), you are probably suffering from PTSD. If you think that you may be suffering from PTSD, you answered yes to 6 or more of the questions, you suffer from anxiety, depression or any other emotional difficulty it would be best for you to see a mental health professional.