Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) is a neurotic disorder caused by a near death experience which is very upsetting, frightening and stressful. It can develop immediately after such an event or many weeks, months or years later.
Events such as road traffic accidents, being the victim of extreme violence or attack, witnessing extreme violence or an attack, military combat or being part of a natural disaster can all lead to PTSD.
The most common symptoms of PTSD are flashbacks (intrusive thoughts) and nightmares which make the individual feel like they are experiencing the trauma again. This is often accompanied by feelings of panic and fear, depression, irritability and guilt. Sleeping and concentrating may also become very difficult. People use the avoidance response and are hypervigilant.
Treatment for PTSD depends on the symptoms you are experiencing, but usually involves a combination of psychological treatments such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing) or CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), medication in the form of antidepressants or anxiety-reducing tablets and relaxation therapies.