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Overview of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

People who experience serious traumatic events can end up suffering from significant psychological distress if the trauma was frightening or horrifying enough that they now feel haunted by its memory and live in fear of it happening again.

Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) is the name given to the psychological symptoms that start within the first month after a trauma. If the symptoms persist for longer, then we speak of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In cases where people have been exposed to ongoing or repeated traumas over a long period of time, the psychological consequences can be profound and constitute a syndrome called Complex PTSD.

About 1 in 12 people in the general population will suffer from PTSD in their lifetimes. For some, the symptoms last for only a few months and then disappear, but for others they can run a course last for years and cause significant disability. The root of this condition seems to be a learned fear response that is a normal part of everyone's psychology but that in these individuals can reach an extreme level. Fortunately, effective treatments for this condition exist.

 

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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder