A Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may develop as a result of stressful traumatic events such as accidents or sexual abuse.
On the following pages you will find extensive information on PTSD and its treatment.
The typical symptoms of PTSD include episodes of repeated reliving of the trauma in intrusive memories (intrusions or flashbacks), dreams or nightmares, a persistent feeling of numbness, emotional apathy, bleakness and indifference.
Many patients with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder experience a so-called over-arousal, e.g. increased alertness (hypervigilance) and increased nervousness. The sleep is often disturbed.
Added to this is an avoidance of activities and situations that might evoke memories of the trauma.
The PTSD is often accompanied by anxiety disorders and depressive disorders. Severely affected patients may also experience suicidal thoughts. The PTSD may persist for many years, but with intensive therapy a significant long-term improvement is possible.
In 1980, along with the publication of the DSM-III, the term Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was introduced as a diagnostic category.
In diagnosing PTSD there is made a distinction between a so-called type I trauma and a type II trauma.
Type I Trauma
The term Type I Trauma describes a unique, unexpected, short-lasting traumatizing event, such as a traffic accident.
Type II Trauma
Type II Trauma on the other hand describes repeated or prolonged traumatic experiences such as long-lasting sexual abuse.
Read more: PTSD: Diagnosis
The Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is frequently accompanied by anxiety disorders and depressive disorders. Severely affected patients may also experience suicidal thoughts.
The onset of PTSD is in most cases a few weeks to months after the traumatic event.
The PTSD may persist for many years, but with intensive treatment a significant long-term improvement is possible.