Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

What does posttraumatic stress disorder mean?

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a disorder among people who experienced stressful event or situation in their lives. Such experiences may involve car accident, terrorist attack, or another terrifying situation.

Although almost all people may recover from those traumatic events, some aren’t. Those who still experience difficulties in recovering from the trauma are more likely to be diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder.

For instance, many people were diagnosed with PTSD shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York. Those people experienced nightmares, flashbacks, and intrusive memories of the incident. People with posttraumatic stress disorder may feel frightened even not in the dangerous situation.

Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder

People may develop PTSD without first-hand experience of a traumatic event. Witnessing a frightening accident, for instance, is enough to develop PTSD. To be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, symptoms should last more than a month. In addition, symptoms should be severe enough to negatively affect the daily functioning of a person. People who suffer PTSD found hardship in their jobs, fulfilling familial responsibilities, and in their relationships.

There are four types of PTSD symptoms: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative thinking and mood, changes in both physical and emotional reactions.

Intrusive memories

A person with PTSD may have the following:

  • Recurrent distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Flashbacks
  • Dreams about the traumatic event
  • Can be easily affected by the things that remind the event


A person with PTSD may avoid the following:

  • Thinking about the traumatic event
  • Places which may remind the negative event

Negative thinking and mood

A person with PTSD may have the following pattern of thinking:

  • Negative assessment of himself or herself and other people
  • Negative views about the future
  • Unable to retrieve or remember some parts of the traumatic event
  • May not be thinking about family members and friends
  • Gradually abandon hobbies s/he enjoyed doing before
  • Difficulty to feel happiness
  • Emotionless

Changes in both physical and emotional reactions

A person with PTSD may have the following reactions:

  • Easily frightened
  • Over vigilant of possible danger
  • Maladaptive behaviors such as drinking too much
  • Experience difficulty sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Feeling guilty

Causes of posttraumatic stress disorder

Although no one could really point out the accurate cause of a posttraumatic disorder, researchers believe that PTSD is a combination of several factors. It could be a stressful life event(s), inherited, and the biological incapability of balancing or regulating hormones that are released during a traumatic event.


Treatments for PTSD involve psychotherapy and medication. The psychotherapy or sometimes called the “talk” therapy involves talking to a client. This kind of treatment may last for months. However, the most important part of this process is social support. People who have family members and friends with them are more likely to recover fast than those who do not have social support.

Medication, on the other hand, involves taking an antidepressant. The purpose of this treatment is to control symptoms such as anger, sadness, and anxiety.

How to avoid posttraumatic disorder?

There are ways that could greatly help people avoid developing PTSD. This involves taking regular physical exercise, socialization with family members and friends. And most importantly, the avoidance of setting up high standards that could overwhelm one’s self-esteem.