After a trauma or life-threatening event, it is common to have reactions such as upsetting memories of the event, increased jumpiness, or trouble sleeping. If these reactions do not go away or if they get worse, you may have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
What is PTSD?
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that can occur after you have been through a trauma. A trauma is something horrible and scary that you see or that happens to you. During this type of event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger. You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening.
If you have gone through an event that could have caused injury or death, you can develop PTSD. Examples of these events can include:
- Combat or war exposure
- Child sexual or physical abuse
- Terrorist attacks
- Sexual or physical assault
- Serious accidents, such as a car wreck.
- Natural disasters, such as a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake.
After the event, you may feel scared, confused, and angry. If these feelings don’t go away or if they get worse, you may have PTSD. These symptoms may disrupt your life, making it hard to continue with your daily activities.
What treatments are available for PTSD?
There are many types of treatment for PTSD. You and your doctor will discuss the best treatment for you. You may have to try more than one treatment before you find the best one for you.
Two types of treatment appear to be the most effective for PTSD at this time. They are:
- a type of counseling called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- medicines known as SSRIs
Treatment can help you feel more in control of your emotions and result in fewer symptoms. However, even with treatment, you may still have some bad memories.
I am an American Veteran. Whom do I contact for help with PTSD?
You can contact your local VA hospital or Vet Center.
VA also has Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC’s) around each state. Many of these clinics offer mental health services.
To find a VA medical center, CBOC, or Vet Center near you, use the online VHA Facilities Locator.
Other resources include:
- The VA Health Benefits Service Center toll free at 1-877-222-VETS
- The Vet Centers’ national number 1-800-905-4675
- The VA Office of Mental Health Returning Veterans page
- The VA Returning Service Members (OEF/OIF) page
- My HealtheVet
For more information please visit the National Center for PTSD.