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3.15: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

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  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that can occur after living through or seeing a dangerous event. It can also occur after a sudden traumatic event. This can include:

    • Being a victim of or seeing violence
    • Being a victim of sexual or physical abuse or assault
    • The death or serious illness of a loved one
    • Fighting in a war
    • A severe car crash or a plane crash
    • Hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires

    You can start having PTSD symptoms right after the event or symptoms can develop months or even years later. Symptoms may include:

    • Nightmares
    • Flashbacks, or feeling like the event is happening again
    • Staying away from places and things that remind you of what happened
    • Being irritable, angry, or jumpy
    • Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Feeling numb
    • Having trouble remembering the event

    Women are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop PTSD than men. Also, people with ongoing stress in their lives are more likely to develop PTSD after a dangerous event.