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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a real illness. You can get PTSD after living through or seeing a traumatic event, such as war, a hurricane, sexual assault, physical abuse, or a bad accident. PTSD makes you feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over. It affects your life and the people around you.
PTSD can cause problems like
- Flashbacks, or feeling like the event is happening again
- Trouble sleeping or nightmares
- Feeling alone
- Angry outbursts
- Feeling worried, guilty, or sad
PTSD starts at different times for different people. Signs of PTSD may start soon after a frightening event and then continue. Other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later. PTSD can happen to anyone, even children.
Treatment may include talk therapy, medicines, or both. Treatment might take 6 to 12 weeks. For some people, it takes longer.
NIH: National Institute of Mental Health
- Dealing With Trauma: Recovering From Frightening Events (National Institutes of Health) Also in Spanish
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (National Institute of Mental Health) Also in Spanish
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- What Can I Do If I Think I Have PTSD? (National Center for PTSD)
Treatments and Therapies
- Antipsychotic drugs a last resort for these 5 conditions (ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia and PTSD) (Consumers Union of U.S.)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Treatment (Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury)
- Coping with Traumatic Stress Reactions (National Center for PTSD) Also in Spanish
- PTSD Treatment Programs in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (National Center for PTSD)
- Tips for Survivors of a Traumatic Event: Managing Your Stress (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF
- Abuse, Maltreatment and PTSD and Their Relationship to Migraine (American Migraine Foundation)
- Chronic Pain and PTSD: A Guide for Patients (National Center for PTSD)
- Common Reactions After Trauma (National Center for PTSD) Also in Spanish
- Disaster Rescue and Response Workers (National Center for PTSD)
- Effects of PTSD on Family (National Center for PTSD) Also in Spanish
- Other Common Problems (National Center for PTSD)
- Returning from the War Zone: A Guide for Families of Military Members (National Center for PTSD) - PDF
- Returning from the War Zone: A Guide for Military Personnel (National Center for PTSD) - PDF
Statistics and Research
- How Common Is PTSD? (National Center for PTSD)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Post-traumatic stress disorder in living donors after pediatric liver transplantation: A...
- Article: Michelle E. Deming: commentary on Gender-Based violence and trauma in marginalized...
- Article: Drug treatment strategies for insomnia in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder -- see more articles
- -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Services Locator (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
- Help for Mental Illnesses (National Institute of Mental Health)
- National Center for PTSD
- National Institute of Mental Health
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (Nemours Foundation)
- Aging Veterans and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms (National Center for PTSD)