Your Guide to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

— Dr. Diane McIntosh —

What is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious psychiatric disorder that affects thousands of people each year. In fact, in any given year 5% of the population can expect to suffer from PTSD. Although, once thought to only occur in war veterans, we now understand that PTSD can develop in anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, such as being in a car accident.

1 out of 2 people will experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime.

Although we all deal with traumatic events differently, many people do not suffer any adverse effects from a traumatic event. However there are people who will experience or witness a traumatic event and continue to re-experience the event over and over again, sometimes for months or years. They often have flashbacks or recurring nightmares about the traumatic event. They may begin to avoid situations or conversations that remind them of the traumatic event. They may have problems getting to sleep or staying asleep. They often startle easily and may seem "overly" alert like they are anticipating another traumatic event. For these people the trauma never seems to end — they have PTSD.

The truth about PTSD

  • PTSD is a medical illness.
  • It is not your fault that you feel this way.
  • It is not something that you can control on your own.
  • PTSD can be treated.