What is PTSD?

Symptoms range from flashbacks to emotional numbness

Nearly 70 percent of Americans will be exposed to a traumatic event in their lifetime, and an estimated 20 percent of those will develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, according to the PTSD Alliance.

Such traumas could include combat, sexual or physical abuse, a terrorist attack, a serious accident or a natural disaster, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD.

Developing PTSD depends on many factors, including the intensity and length of the trauma, if someone close was killed or injured, how near one was to the event, the intensity of the person's reaction, how much control the person had of events, and how much support the person received after the event.

Symptoms of PTSD -- such as anxiety, feeling "on edge," feeling numb or avoidance behaviors -- disrupt life and make it hard to continue with daily activities, the National Center for PTSD reports.

The National Center identifies four types of PTSD symptoms:

• Reliving the event. Intense memories of the trauma return in the form of nightmares or flashbacks, triggering the original feelings of fear and horror.

• Avoiding situations that are reminders of the event. Some people actively avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the trauma. They stay very busy and do not seek help.

• Feeling numb. PTSD sufferers can have difficulty expressing feelings, cultivating relationships, enjoying activities previously liked, or even remembering the trauma itself.

• Feeling keyed up. People with PTSD may feel jittery or as though they are always on the lookout for danger. They may be angry or irritable or have trouble concentrating or sleeping.

More information is available at

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD


Like this comment
Posted by Anne Smithson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 27, 2012 at 7:26 am

This article does a great job of outlining what PTSD is. While the symptoms of PTSD can be frightening, there are many treatment options and many solutions that can help. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff due to promoting a website.]

Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 29, 2012 at 9:04 pm

>> Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff due to promoting a website

What on Earth is wrong with the reasonable promotion of a website that is relevent to the subject or story ? If it is blatant spam, that's different, but if there is some info on an important subject where is the harm in posting that. Today people are mentioning Google and Facebook in many posts … why don't you remove those posts, they are promoting those sites ?

I really have to rate the editor ability of Palo Alto Online at about a C-. PAO needs to get serious about what they are doing here. This is like the new gossip tree where people log in to share ideas and part of that is pointing out thing they think might be helpful or relevant. I'm not that interested in this subject, but there is not much here but someone whose friend or loved one has been through the war or trauma might like to have the resource.

TIn mhy opinion there is no need for PAO to be so draconian in their censorship.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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