Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychological and physical condition that can be caused by extremely frightening or distressing events. It is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

PTSD can occur after experiencing or witnessing traumatic events such as military combat, natural disasters, serious accidents, terrorist attacks, violent deaths, personal assaults including rape, and other situations in which the person felt extreme fear, horror or helplessness.

Many people develop PTSD because someone close to them died suddenly (around 40%). Around 30% of people exposed to such a stressful event will develop PTSD.

PTSD can affect anyone. It is common, and affects around 5% of men and 10% of women some time in their life. It can happen at any age, including in childhood. An individual with PTSD often relives the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, has problems with concentrating and sleeping, with feelings of isolation and detachment from life. These symptoms can be lasting and severe enough to significantly impair the persons daily life.

Symptoms usually develop immediately or within three months of a traumatic event, although occasionally they do not begin until years later. PTSD can develop at any age, including in childhood.