A condition that’s estimated to impact 7.8 percent of Americans at some point in their lives, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by a traumatic event. It can include symptoms such as nightmares, extreme anxiety and flashbacks. PTSD can be caused by combat exposure, childhood sexual or physical abuse, natural disasters, serious accidents or a terrorist attack. It’s still unknown why some people get PTSD when others do not. Whether or not someone gets the condition usually depends on the intensity of the trauma, length of the trauma, degree of personal injury and proximity to the event.
To give you some idea of the kind of events that can trigger PTSD—18.7 percent of Vietnam Veterans suffered from PTSD, and 34 percent of Oklahoma City bombing survivors developed the condition. There are four types of PTSD symptoms: re-living the event, avoiding situations that serve as reminders of the event, negative changes in beliefs and feelings and hyperarousal.
PTSD is treated with psychotherapy and medication. For more details and information on how to help someone you know who may be suffering from the condition, place take a look at the infographic below.