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Understanding post-traumatic stress disorder and its symptoms

This article was written by Baillie McCane, BSN, RN, Injury Prevention and Outreach Coordinator, Trauma/Surgical Services at UK HealthCare

Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop when a person experiences a shocking, scary or dangerous event. These events can include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, combat and various other forms of violence.

Most people experience a range of reactions after a traumatic event, but many recover from the symptoms naturally. The diagnosis of PTSD occurs when the symptoms become chronic.

To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:

  • At least one re-experiencing symptom
  • At least one avoidance symptom
  • At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
  • At least two cognition and mood symptoms

PTSD is an often-stigmatized and/or misunderstood mental health issue in which symptoms can occur for months or years after the traumatic event. Raising awareness can help both individuals and professionals discover ways to identify and manage PTSD symptoms.

Visit the UK HealthCare trauma program website by clicking here

For more information, visit www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/

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This content was produced by UK HealthCare Brand Strategy.