Post traumatic stress disorder is a reaction to exposure to very stressful and traumatising events. These lead to symptoms which may include: flashbacks, panic attacks etc. It can be effectively treated, with a range of interventions and can be successfully managed.
PTSD can be a reaction to rape, violent attack, traumatic accidents, sudden destruction of your home or community, or threat or harm to you or to your close relatives or friends. Deliberate acts of violence are more likely than natural events or accidents to result in PTSD.
PTSD is a potentially severe and long term mental health problem that can hampers your ability to live your life to the full. People experiencing it can feel anxious for years after the trauma whether or not they suffered a physical injury as well.
Depression, emotional numbing, drug or alcohol misuse and anger are also common. Debriefing someone who has experienced trauma immediately after an event is not sufficient to prevent the occurrence of PTSD.
People experiencing PTSD may not seek treatment for months or years after the onset of symptoms because they do not think they can be helped or they may feel they can should deal with it themselves.
The most effective therapeutic approach for long term or severe PTSD appears to be talking treatments with a clinical psychologist, or related professional in which the person with PTSD is encouraged to talk through their experiences in detail. This may involve behavioural or cognitive therapeutic approaches.
Antidepressants may also be prescribed to relieve the depression which people who have survived trauma often experience at the same time as PTSD.