Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder is called PTSD for short. PTSD creates mental and emotional reactions to terrible or stressful events. Learn more about post-traumatic stress disorder.

profile view of an older man staring ahead

An example of post-traumatic stress disorder is if a man has a terrible car accident. He cannot sleep because of nightmares from the accident. Or he stops going outside his house after the accident.

It is natural to feel different after a terrible event. It is also natural to act differently after a terrible event. But maybe you feel different and act differently months or even years after the terrible event happened. You might have PTSD. Talk to your doctor about ways to help.

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder

You may feel different after seeing or being part of a terrible event. You may feel:

  • scared
  • sad
  • angry
  • nervous
  • lonely

Your actions can change after seeing or being part of a terrible event. Some changes you might experience are:

  • having nightmares
  • having flashbacks (you feel like you are living the terrible event again)
  • having difficulty sleeping
  • not wanting to see family or friends
  • not doing activities you like
  • having no energy

You can get help if you have PTSD. If you experience a terrible event and you feel sad, or if you have nightmares about the event for longer than one month, talk to your doctor about different ways to help.