Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Frightening, overwhelming, or traumatic experiences can have a strong impact on your mind and emotions, especially if these experiences are life-threatening.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is an anxiety disorder and is one of many psychological reactions you can have to a traumatic event like an accident, sexual assault, violence, a natural disaster, war, or torture. PTSD can be distressing and have negative consequences for your health and wellbeing. PTSD symptoms cover three main areas: intrusive memories, avoidance, and heightened arousal.

Getting help for PTSD.  PTSD is treatable and usually requires treatment from a mental health professional. The sooner a person is treated for PTSD, the better. If left untreated, PTSD can become a chronic disabling mental health disorder. Your local medical doctor can be a good place to start if you’re experiencing PTSD symptoms. A doctor can also help manage some of these symptoms.

Dealing with memories.  Talking about the traumatic event helps people confront what has happened to them.

Lifestyle.  Even though you might not feel like it, taking care of yourself physically can help you deal with the emotional aspects of PTSD. Remember to exercise, eat well, and go easy on drugs and alcohol. You might also want to try and get your body into a routine— like eating and sleeping on a regular schedule—to help you get some structure and security back into your life.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at, a website that helps teens get through tough times. 

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