What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an emotional reaction to traumatic experiences such as rape, bombings, torture, the death or disappearance of family or friends or witnessing another person being tortured or killed. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods or earthquakes can also lead to PTSD. Sexual or physical abuse can lead to PTSD. People who were treated badly as political prisoners or were forced to flee their homeland may develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Many events may cause PTSD outside of the ones listed here. This illness can affect anyone, including children.

When something traumatic happens it is natural to feel shocked, confused or impacted emotionally afterwards. However, if extreme fear, flashbacks and mood disruption have effected someone for more than 3 months, then it is said that they are suffering from PTSD.

A milder form of PTSD is termed as “Adjustment Disorder” which is when an individual experiences the same symptoms of PTSD (frightened emotions, flashbacks, trouble concentrating due to paranoia/fear, changes in mood, trouble sleeping) but this only lasts 1-3 months. Once it lasts over 3 months, a new diagnosis of PTSD would then be initiated.


If you experienced any of these events you may not be able to keep the memory of what happened out of your mind. You may

  • Reoccuring nightmares
  • Feel afraid/paranoid often
  • Have a hard time concentrating due to feelings of fear
  • Feel that you are never safe/ distrustful of being in public spaces
  • Feeling as if the event is happening again
  • Behaving as if you are currently in the event, behaving as if the event is happening again
  • Avoid places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic experience
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Changes in mood such as prolonged sadness, crying spells, irritability and/or anger