Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Short Introduction

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common psychological disorder that can occur when a person has been exposed to an extremely distressing event or series of events that overwhelms their ability to cope. Common triggers include violent experiences, natural disasters, abuse, warfare or other life-threatening events and emergency situations such as accidents or injuries.


The symptoms of PTSD are some of the most intense and difficult to control emotions ever seen by psychologists. Symptoms include re-experiencing the trauma (intrusive memories, nightmares and flashbacks that are involuntary, rapid and intense). Often memories cause a person to physically relive the traumatic event or experience and hence, the need for Ketamine for ptsd case study. Other PTSD symptoms include avoiding situations and people that act as reminders of the trauma, increased arousal (uncontrollable physical and mental agitation) and persistent negative beliefs about oneself and others.


The exact cause of PTSD is still being investigated by researchers, but there are many theories about what might trigger it. One theory is that trauma could lead to chemical changes in the brain. Another theory is that stressful situations can cause people to have an overactive response of the amygdala – an almond-shaped structure in each cerebral hemisphere. This is believed to cause the symptoms of PTSD.


There is no standard medical treatment for PTSD. However, there are teaching therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and techniques that deal with trauma such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). For some people, antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications can be helpful. It often takes many months for the symptoms of PTSD to resolve, but recovery can be achieved with time and appropriate supportive care.

PTSD is not just a condition affecting veterans returning from war zones. It can happen to anyone who has a traumatic experience, no matter where and when it occurs. There are many different sources of traumatic experiences, some of which include:

Traumatic experiences that involve physical or psychological injury are the most common cause of PTSD. The most commonly recognized causes are war, sexual assault, childhood abuse and interpersonal violence (such as battering). Other unusual causes of trauma include accidents or natural disasters.

PTSD manifests in different ways depending on the person’s primary traumatic experience. For example, someone who has been sexually assaulted may have detailed memories of the event accompanied by extremely negative feelings towards themselves and others. The traumatic experience could have taken place many years ago, or it may have occurred very recently. PTSD can also occur as a delayed response to a traumatic experience when there has been no prior awareness of the trauma, for example, learning about an assault on a loved one that had taken place years before.

In terms of PTSD in children and young people, some have been sexually abused (although this is less common than physical abuse), but most often the trauma is witnessed violence or threats against their parents.