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.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Opening alert: Kyosho Sushi in Menlo Park
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 2,103 views

Umeboshi - The Macrobiotic Antibiotic
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,541 views

Love is a Verb
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,256 views


Save $5 when you register by Monday, July 31

Registration is now open for the 33rd annual Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run and Walk. This family-friendly event which benefits local nonprofits serving kids and families will take place on Friday, Oct. 6 at the Palo Alto Baylands.

Register Here