Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a condition that affects millions of people every day. According to theSidran Institute, up to 20% of people who have survived a traumatic incident have PTSD. PTSD is the psychological aftershock that can manifest in people who have survived a severely traumatic situation such as:
- War or combat
- Rape or other sexual assault
- Prolonged physical and mental abuse
- Surviving natural disasters such as a tsunami, tornado, dust storm, tidal wave, hurricane
- A serious accident like car or plane crashes
- Terrorist acts
- Violent personal assaults like a carjacking, mugging, or a break-in
- Witnessing a traumatic incident involving a loved one, such as a beating or murder
PTSD affects a significant number of war veterans, though it used to be categorized as "shell shock," "soldier's heart," "war neurosis," and "combat fatigue." Those were the terms used following WWI, and it wasn't until 1980 that PTSD became a medical term, thanks to theAmerican Psychiatric Association. Unfortunately, for decades, PTSD was not recognized as a medical condition any many, not just veterans, went undiagnosed.
Those who have PTSD can experience intense and disturbing thoughts related to traumatic experiences in the form of daytime flashbacks or night-terrors.
Additionally, particular smells, sights, or sounds like loud noises or accidental touches can trigger a PTSD episode.
A PTSD episode causes the person to relive the traumatic incident elicitingemotional distress or physical reaction.
In addition to nightmares and flashbacks, those who suffer from PTSD often have other issues such as depression, substance abuse, dissociation or anti-social behaviors, loneliness, anxiety, and depression.