Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (NIMH)

It’s natural to be afraid when you’re in danger. It’s natural to be upset when something bad happens to you or someone you know. But if you feel afraid and upset weeks or months later, it’s time to talk with your doctor. You might have post-traumatic stress disorder.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a real illness. You can get PTSD after living through or seeing a dangerous event, such as war, a hurricane, or bad accident. PTSD makes you feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over. It affects your life and the people around you.

If you have PTSD, you can get treatment and feel better.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can happen to anyone at any age. Children get PTSD too. You don’t have to be physically hurt to get PTSD. You can get it after you see other people, such as a friend or family member, get hurt.

Living through or seeing something that’s upsetting and dangerous can cause PTSD. This can include:

  • Being a victim of or seeing violence
  • The death or serious illness of a loved one
  • War or combat
  • Car accidents and plane crashes
  • Hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires
  • Violent crimes, like a robbery or shooting

There are many other things that can cause PTSD. Talk to your doctor if you are troubled by something that happened to you or someone you care about.

A publication from the National Institute of Mental Health

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