Psychology.com
home Therapist Directory Professional Advice Self Discovery Self Help Library Articles Shop
Mental Health Topics

  Find a therapist with this specialty: (optional zip code)    

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

Alzheimer's Disease

Antidepressants

Anxiety

Asperger's Syndrome

Autism

Bereavement/Grief

Bipolar Disorder

Compulsive Gambling

Coping with Chronic Illness

Child Behavior Disorders

Children Mental Health

Dementia

Depression

Developmental Disabilities

Dual Diagnosis

Eating Disorders

Learning Disorders

Memory

Mental Health

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Panic Disorder

Phobias

Postpartum Depression

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Prader-Willi Syndrome

Schizophrenia

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Suicide

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Overview

Does This Sound Like You? Have you lived through a scary and dangerous event? Please put a check in the box next to any problems you have.

  • Sometimes, all of a sudden, I feel like the event is happening over again. I never know when this will occur.
  • I have nightmares and bad memories of the terrifying event.
  • I stay away from places that remind me of the event.
  • I jump and feel very upset when something happens without warning.
  • I have a hard time trusting or feeling close to other people.
  • I get mad very easily.
  • I feel guilty because others died and I lived.
  • I have trouble sleeping and my muscles are tense.

If you put a check in the box next to some of these problems, you may have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a real illness that needs to be treated.

Many people who have been through a frightening experience. It’s not your fault and you don’t have to suffer.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

PTSD is a real illness. People may get PTSD after living through a disturbing or frightening experience. It can be treated with medicine and therapy.

You can get PTSD after you have been:

  • Raped or sexually abused
  • Hit or harmed by someone in your family
  • A victim of a violent crime
  • In an airplane or car crash
  • In a hurricane, tornado, or fire
  • In a war
  • In an event where you thought you might be killed
  • After you have seen any of these events.

If you have PTSD, you often have nightmares or scary thoughts about the experience you went through. You try to stay away from anything that reminds you of your experience.

You may feel angry and unable to trust or care about other people. You may always be on the lookout for danger. You can feel very upset when something happens suddenly or without warning.

When does PTSD start and how long does it last?

For most people, PTSD starts within about three months of the event. For some people, signs of PTSD don’t show up until years later. PTSD can happen to anyone at any age. Even children can have it.

Some people get better within six months, while others may have the illness for much longer.

Am I the only person with this illness?

No. You are not alone. In any year, 5.2 million Americans have PTSD.

What can I do to help myself?

Talk to your doctor about the the experience that upset you.
Tell you doctor if you have scary memories, if you feel sad, if you have trouble sleeping, or if you are angry all the time. Tell your doctor if these problems keep you from doing everyday things and living your life. You may want to show your doctor this booklet. It can help explain how you feel. Ask your doctor for a checkup to make sure you don’t have some other illness.

Ask your doctor if he or she has helped people with PTSD.
Special training helps doctors treat people with PTSD. If your doctor doesn’t have special training, ask for the name of a doctor or counselor who does.

Get more information.
Call 1-866-615-6464 to have free information mailed to you. You can feel better.

What can a doctor or counselor do to help me?

A doctor may give you medicine to help you feel less afraid and tense. It may take a few weeks for the medicine to work.

Talking to a specially trained doctor or counselors helps many people with PTSD. This is called “therapy.” Therapy can help you work through your terrible experience.