Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
It is common to experience distressing memories, difficulty sleeping, and restlessness following a tragedy; however, for most people these reactions tend to improve with time. If improvement does not occur or if the reactions worsen, it may be an indicator of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is characterized by four symptom clusters: Persistent mood disturbances, hypervigilance, re-experiencing, and avoidance. Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD. About 60% of women and 50% of men experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, and most will never develop PTSD. PTSD affects approximately 1 in 15 children, 1 in 9 adult women, and 1 in 18 adult men in the United States.
- Re-experiencing a terrible event through distressing thoughts, flashbacks, and nightmares. In children, this may occur through repetitive play or artwork.
- Avoidance of thoughts, feelings, and activities associated with the event
- Feeling numb and detached from others
- Lack of interest in activities that once brought pleasure
- Anxiety, difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping, irritability
- Difficulty separating from caregiver and developmental regression (bedwetting, thumb sucking, tantrums, etc.) in children
- Exaggerated startle response and hypervigilance