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PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
What is PTSD?
PTDS is an anxiety disorder that some people get after seeing or living through a dangerous event. When in danger it is completely normal to feel afraid. This fear triggers many normal split second changes in the body to prepare against the danger or to avoid it. This "fight-or-flight" response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from any harm. But when someone has PTSD, this reaction is changed or damaged. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are no longer in danger.
Who gets PTSD?
Anyone can get PTSD at any age. This includes war veterans and survivors of physical and sexual assault, abuse, accidents, disasters, and many other serious events. Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some people get it after a friend or family member experiences danger or is harmed. Some develop PTSD after a sudden, unexpected death of a loved one.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:
1. Re-experiencing symptoms:
2. Avoidance Symptoms:
Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car crash, a person who usually drives may want to avoid driving or even riding in a car.
3. Hyperarousal symptoms:
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Do children react differently than adults?
Children and teens have extreme reactions to trauma, but their symptoms may not be the same as adults. In very young children, these symptoms may include:
Older children and teens usually show signs similar to adults. They may display disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors. Older children and teens may feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths. They may also have thoughts of revenge.
Why do some people get PTSD and others don't?
Not everyone who lives through a dangerous event will get PTSD. In fact, most will not get the disorder.
Many factors play a part in whether a person will develop PTSD or not. Some of these factors are risk factors that may increase the chances of a person getting it. Other factors, resilience factors, help a person reduce the risk of getting the disorder. Some of both factors are present before the trauma and others become important during and after a traumatic event.
Risk Factors for PTSD include:
Researchers are studying the importance of various risk factors and resilience factors. With more study, it may be possible someday to predict who is likely to get PTSD and prevent it.
For more info on PTSD:
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