Crying, help and psychologist with a woman for therapy, depression notes and talking about trauma.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop in those who have experienced a traumatic event or events. Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD, and there is no way to know for certain who will. In fact, many people who experience trauma, experience its impact as post-traumatic stress. While they may continue to function in their day-to-day lives, they may also experience some of the symptoms listed below to varying degrees, without ever getting a diagnosis of PTSD.

However, there are some factors that might make someone more vulnerable to developing PTSD:

  • The traumatic event included a threat to one’s own safety
  • Experiencing intense helplessness and/or fear during the event
  • Feeling guilt, shame, and/or responsibility for the event or its outcomes
  • Experiencing additional stress following the event
  • Not receiving adequate social support

Those with PTSD may experience these symptoms:

  • Nightmares, flashbacks, and/or intrusive memories
  • Feeling unable to connect with themselves, others, and/or the world around them
  • An inability to feel positive emotions like joy, pleasure, and/or love
  • High irritability and/or angry outbursts
  • Increased tension, fear, and/or hypervigilance 
  • Anxiety and/or worry about the future