Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing a very traumatic or life-threatening event such as but not limited to:

  • Combat,
  • Sexual assault or rape,
  • Physical attack,
  • Motor vehicle accident,
  • Robbery,
  • Injury,
  • Natural or man-made disaster.

PTSD can involve (1) actually experiencing the traumatic event, (2) witnessing a traumatic event involving another person, or (3) learning of a traumatic event of a family member or close associate.

Individuals who develop PTSD have symptoms including persistent re-experiencing of the event through memories or nightmares, avoidance of places or situations that remind them of the trauma, and general increased arousal like sleeplessness, uncharacteristic irritability or difficulty concentrating. Individuals with PTSD may also find themselves withdrawing physically and emotionally from others around them. These symptoms can be extremely frightening and disabling in the individual’s work and social life. PTSD is a surprisingly common disorder affecting approximately 6.4% of the adult population in Australia.

Treatment

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be very successfully treated through Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy or medication; however therapy has been slightly more successful with long-term effects.