Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that a person can develop after experiencing or witnessing, either directly or indirectly, a traumatic event or life-threatening situation. A traumatic event involves exposure to death, threatened death, actual or serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence. Specific examples include physical assault, combat exposure and serious accidents.
People who have PTSD may have the following symptoms:
If these symptoms last longer than a month and interfere with the person’s social life, work, or relationships, they may represent PTSD. Most symptoms of PTSD usually occur within three months of the traumatic event but can emerge years later. Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will have PTSD.
It is not known why some people suffer from PTSD after a traumatic event and others do not. In the United States, for instance, approximately 7-8% of the population will develop PTSD at some point in their lives. However, researchers have identified specific factors that increase the risk for PTSD:
There are several different types of treatment for PTSD. There is no one treatment that works for everyone. If you feel that you may have PTSD, talk with your doctor or mental health provider to determine what treatment options are best for you.
Cognitive-behavioral treatments, either individually or in a group format, are regarded as the most effective treatment for PTSD:
A class of antidepressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) has shown benefit in treating PTSD. Some commonly prescribed SSRIs are citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft). Zoloft and Paxil have been approved for the long-term treatment of PTSD.
Overall, the evidence of treatment effectiveness suggests that therapy interventions have a greater impact than medications. However, some people may prefer medications or may benefit from a combination of therapy and medication.
National Center for PTSD
Sheikh Khalifa Behavioral Sciences Pavilion
Phone (adults) + 971 2 819 4050 (children up to 17 years) + 971 2 819 4175
Crisis Management SKMC
Phone: + 971 2 819 4460
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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