Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)[a] is a mental and behavioral disease that can arise after exposure to a traumatic incident, such as a sexual assault, battle, car accident, child abuse, domestic violence, or other threats to one\’s life.

A person\’s thoughts and feelings may change, there may be an increase in the fight-or-flight response, and there may be distressing thoughts, sensations, or dreams connected to the events. There may also be mental or physical suffering from trauma-related stimuli. After the incident, these symptoms persist for almost a month.

Young children may play out their memories rather than displaying anxiety. Suicide and deliberate self-harm are more likely to happen to someone with PTSD.

Most victims of traumatic experiences do not go on to acquire PTSD. Compared to those who experience non-assault based trauma, such as accidents and natural disasters, people who experience interpersonal violence, such as rape, other sexual assaults, being kidnapped, stalking, physical abuse by an intimate partner, incest, or other forms of childhood sexual abuse, are more likely to develop PTSD.

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder may occur in those who endure protracted trauma, such as in slavery, concentration camps, or chronic domestic abuse (C-PTSD). While C-PTSD and PTSD are comparable, they have different effects on a person\’s ability to control their emotions and sense of self.

When counseling is provided to all trauma-exposed people, whether or not symptoms are present, prevention may be achieved when symptoms are present in the early stages.

Medication and counseling (psychotherapy) are the two basic therapies for PTSD. The first-line treatment for PTSD is antidepressants of the SSRI or SNRI class, which are somewhat helpful for roughly half of patients.  The advantages of medication are not as great as those of counseling.  It is unknown whether combining medication and counseling has a stronger positive impact than doing it independently.

Other than a few SSRIs or SNRIs, medications lack sufficient proof to be used, and in the case of benzodiazepines, they may even exacerbate results.

 

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