PTSD: What Is It?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event. We hear a lot about PTSD as related to war, and yet things like natural disasters, car or plane crashes, the death of a loved one, terrorist attacks and sexual or physical abuse fall into this category.

There are a wide variety of symptoms associated with PTSD:

– Feeling upset by things that remind you of what happened
– Having nightmares, vivid memories, or flashbacks of the event that make you feel like it’s happening all over again
– Feeling emotionally cut off from others
– Feeling numb or losing interest in things you used to care about
– Becoming depressed
– Thinking that you are always in danger
– Feeling anxious, jittery, or irritated
– Experiencing a sense of panic that something bad is about to happen
– Having difficulty sleeping
– Having trouble keeping your mind on one thing
– Having a hard time relating to and getting along with your spouse, family, or friends

And it’s not just the symptoms of PTSD, but also the reaction to them that can disrupt someone’s life:
– Frequently avoiding places or things that remind you of what happened
– Consistent drinking or using drugs to numb your feelings
– Considering harming yourself or others
– Starting to work all the time to occupy your mind
– Pulling away from other people and becoming isolated

It’s very important that if you, a loved one or a friend are suffering from any of these symptoms and the possible reactions, that help is found as soon as possible. The quicker the intervention by a mental health practitioner, the better the outcome. Just talking to another person who can be empathic and patient in the “listening” can make a profound difference.
If you have any thoughts about PTSD that you would like to share, be sure and email me, Miriam Lacher, at

Thanks so much.

Miriam Lacher is manager of the Bayside Center for Behavioral Health at Sarasota Memorial.


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