Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event or ordeal in which grave physical, psychological, or sexual harm occurred or was threatened. When in danger, it’s natural to feel afraid, and this fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to prepare to defend against the danger, or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. But in PTSD, this reaction is changed, damaged, and often over activated. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger.
People with PTSD tend to:
- Experience sleeping problems, including bad dreams
- Stay away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
- Feel strong guilt, depression, or worry
- Lose interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
- Feel detached or numb
- Be easily startled