Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms typically start within three months of that event. In a small number of cases though, PTSD symptoms may not appear until years later. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while. But with time and taking care of yourself, such traumatic reactions usually get better. In some cases though, the symptoms can get worse or last for months or even years. Sometimes they may completely shake up your life. In a case such as this, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder. Getting treatment as soon as possible after post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms develop may prevent long-term PTSD.
People of all ages can have post-traumatic stress disorder. However, some factors may make you more likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic event, including:
• Experiencing intense or long-lasting trauma
• Having experienced other trauma earlier in life
• Having other mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
• Lacking a good support system of family and friends
• Having first-degree relatives with mental health problems, including PTSD
• Having first-degree relatives with depression
• Having been abused or neglected as a child