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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that some people develop after seeing or living through a dangerous or distressing event. The “fight or flight” reaction that’s normal at the time can linger long after the danger has passed.

  • Common PTSD symptoms include the following:
    • Anxiety, panic attacks or constantly looking out for danger
    • Depression or hopelessness
    • Feelings of guilt or shame
    • Reliving the event through bad memories, flashbacks or nightmares
    • Avoiding activities you used to enjoy
    • Avoiding situations that remind you of the trauma (e.g., not driving, or staying away from crowds)
    • Irritability
    • Withdrawing from loved ones or even thinking that they would be better off without you
    • Having trouble concentrating at work or school

PTSD: what you should know

  • PTSD is treatable — and the sooner you seek help, the easier it will be for you to overcome it.
  • One sign that you might have PTSD is that instead of feeling better as time goes on, you feel as though things are getting worse.
  • Those most commonly affected by PTSD are:
    • Veterans of war
    • First responders (e.g., police officers, firefighters)
    • Survivors of physical and sexual assault or abuse
    • People who have been in accidents or natural disasters
    • Witnesses to crimes
    • Family members or friends of someone who was harmed
    • People who experience the unexpected death of a loved one

How can I get help for PTSD?

If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from PTSD, talk with your primary care doctor for treatment and referral options.