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Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms typically start within three months of a traumatic event. In a small number of cases PTSD symptoms may not appear until years after the event. Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are generally grouped into three types: intrusive memories, avoidance and numbing and increased anxiety or emotional arousal.

The type of events that can cause PTSD include:
  •     serious road accidents
  •     violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery
  •     prolonged sexual abuse, violence or severe neglect
  •     witnessing violent deaths
  •     military combat
  •     being held hostage
  •     terrorist attacks
  •     natural disasters, such as severe floods, earthquakes or tsunamis
Symptoms of intrusive memories may include flashbacks or reliving the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time and upsetting dreams about the traumatic event. Symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing may include trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event, feeling emotionally numb, avoiding activities you once enjoyed,  hopelessness about the future, memory problems, trouble concentrating and difficulty maintaining close relationships.

Symptoms of anxiety and increased emotional arousal may include irritability or anger, overwhelming guilt or shame, self-destructive behaviour such as drinking too much, trouble sleeping, memory problems, trouble concentrating, being easily startled or frightened and hearing or seeing things that are not  there.

You should visit your doctor if you or your child are still having problems about four weeks after the traumatic experience, or if the symptoms are particularly troublesome.

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