What is PTSD?

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Dr. Charles Figley, who I quote in my book, is one of the foremost authorities on the effects of trauma and PTSD. He notes the following characteristics in the person with PTSD:

  • Re-experiences the most traumatic aspects of the event many times, in flashbacks, memory, or dreams
  • Makes efforts to avoid exposure to reminders.
  • Is on edge, unable to relax.
  • Is unable to think about the event without being obsessed.
  • Experiences symptoms for more than a month.

He or she can also exhibits these symptoms:

  • Phobia and general anxiety (especially among former POWs and hostages and natural disaster survivors)
  • Drinking or drug problems
  • Feelings of hopelessness, shame, or despair. and/or intense guilt
  • Psychosomatic complaints, increased hospitalization
  • An altered sense of time (especially among children)
  • Grief reactions and obsessions with death (especially among those who survived a trauma in which someone died or could have died)
  • Increased interpersonal conflicts and outbursts of anger, (divorce and violence)
  • Absenteeism, criminal behavior, and truancy.

From:  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy -AAMFT -Clinical Update Volume 2, Issue 5, Sept. 2000,  http://www.aamft.org/families/Consumer_Updates/PTSD

_AAMFT_Clinical_Update.htm  And from AAMFT Consumer Update on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, www.aamft.org/families/Consumer_Updates/PTSD.asp

Also See the webpage,“What is PTSD”  It is put out by the Department of Veteran Affairs, Nation Center for PTSD and will answer most of your questions.    http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/what-is-ptsd.asp

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