Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a traumatic or life-threatening event, such as a violent personal assault, child or adult sexual abuse, a terrorist attack, military combat, a serious accident, or a natural disaster; or following the sudden injury or unexpected death of a loved one. Strong physical and emotional reactions are the body’s natural response in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event; however, people with PTSD feel stressed and frightened several weeks, months, or even years later, when they are no longer in danger. If left untreated, individuals with PTSD may develop other problems, such as depression, relationship problems, physical symptoms or illnesses, employment problems, and substance abuse. PTSD is also common in children and youth who have been exposed to violence or trauma or have experienced the sudden death of a loved one.
The following resources provide additional information on responding to individuals with PTSD.