Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs when a person has been exposed to a traumatic event wherein they experienced an event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury to self or others, and the person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.
PTSD symptoms fall into three general clusters:
Re-experiencing, which can manifest as flashbacks or nightmares.
Avoidance and numbing, which involves persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma (efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings or conversations associated with the trauma; efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma; inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma), and numbing of general responsiveness (feelings of detachment or estrangement from others).
Increased arousal, as indicated by insomnia, outbursts of anger or irritability, difficulty concentrating, hypervigilance, or easily startled.
Successful treatment of PTSD can be accomplished with appropriate medication and psychotherapy.