Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a mental health condition that occurs following a life threatening or traumatic event which is either witnessed or happens to a person. It’s most often associated with soldiers returning from war zones who have been in battle or seen terrible things. It can also be experienced by those who have been subjected to an assault or have been in a crash or accident or similar event.
Some people, including those who have suffered from abuse at an early age, can endure PTSD for many years before eventually seeking the help they need. Symptoms can include living the trauma over and over again as if it had just happened, avoiding places or people that remind you of the event and constantly being on guard. People with PTSD can develop other problems such as panic attacks and depression and their chances of having a good social or family life can be severely impaired if the condition is not brought under control.
Worldwide statistics on PTSD vary considerably depending on cultural and local conditions so it is difficult to get a truly global perspective. War zones such as the Middle East are more likely to produce incidences of PTSD but reporting is not well developed, as you might expect. Another problem is the number of people seeking help for the damage a traumatic event has occurred which varies from country to country.
In the USA, PTSD continues to be a public health concern and is more widely researched here than in other countries:
While most of the evidence about PTSD has been collected from those who have taken part in war zones, there’s no doubt that the condition is far more prevalent than most people believe. Any traumatic event can cause PTSD and most people manage to cope with it and get over the condition given time. When the PTSD continues to be a problem and leads to mental health problems such as depression and other anxiety disorders, it may be time to seek professional help.