Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a long lasting and often delayed anxiety reaction to experiencing, witnessing, or being confronted with a catastrophic event, stressor, or threatening experience.   PTSD is characterized by symptoms of extreme fear, re-experiencing the traumatic situation through memories, nightmares, flashbacks, and vivid images, feelings of helplessness, hyper-arousal, and avoidance of certain situations associated with the perceived threat.  The person will continue to re-experience the event through intrusive memories, nightmares, flashbacks, and intense thoughts and feelings.

The most common traumatic experiences associated with PTSD are accidents, serious physical assault, sexual assault, rape, and military combat.   Other extreme stressors include disasters such as: floods, earthquakes, and fires.

Psychological vulnerability, biological vulnerability, early learning, and the extent of one's social support all play a role in one's unique post-traumatic stress reaction. 


Subtype classifications of PTSD:

Acute PTSD - Occurs within 1-3 months of the traumatic event.

Chronic PTSD - Occurs after 3 months of the traumatic experience.

Delayed onset PTSD - Occurs after 6 months or more after the traumatic experience.


Acute Stress Disorder


Acute Stress Disorder (also known as acute stress reaction, psychological shock, or mental shock) is a post-traumatic stress reaction immediately following the traumatic experience in which the person feels immense helplessness. The symptoms occur within one month after exposure to the extreme stress.


Common Symptoms

Symptoms may include: intense anxiety and avoidance, disturbing dreams or flashbacks, dissociative states such as: derealization/depersonalization or dissociative amnesia, and impairment in daily functioning.


back to top

Page Disclaimer

The information on this site has not been evaluated nor has it been written by a physician or medical doctor. The information contained on this site is for entertainment purposes only and should not be used to diagnose, treat or prevent a medical or psychological disorder.


back to top