What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness. It involves exposure to extreme trauma involving death or the threat of death, serious injury, or sexual violence. Extreme trauma is a terrifying event or ordeal that a person has experienced, witnessed or learned about, especially one that is life threatening or causes physical harm. It can be a single event or repeated experience. The experience causes that person to feel intense fear, horror or a sense of helplessness.
PTSD is not about what's wrong with you. It's about what happened to you.
Seventy percent of the population will at some point in their lives experience a traumatic event, 20% of those people will develop PTSD. Individuals who work in high risk occupations such as First Responders are guaranteed to be repeatedly exposed to critical incidents. It's not a matter of if they will be exposed but when and how often. They are therefore at very high risk for developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Signs and Symptoms of PTSD
- Reliving the event through nightmares or intrusive images that come at any time
- Avoiding reminders of the event
- Difficulty sleeping
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Extreme emotional or physical reactions
- Losing interest in every day activities or activities you used to enjoy
- Being on-guard on hyper aroused all the time
- Anger, irritability and moments of rage
- Emotionally numb.
To learn more about PTSD visit these websites:
- Canadian Mental Health Association
- Mental Health America