A puzzle in the space of a brain. A missing puzzle piece has PTSD written on it. Have you or someone you know:

  • experienced a natural disaster?

  • survived war or combat?

  • witnessed an accident?

  • suffered from an act of violence?

If so, you or someone you know may be suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

What Is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Many associate the disorder with war veterans, but it can affect anyone.

  • PTSD affects 3.6% of the U.S. adult population — about 9 million individuals.

  • Women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD.

  • Three ethnic groups — U.S. Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians (Indigenous Americans) — are disproportionately affected and have higher rates of PTSD than non-Latino whites .

A bar graph comparing the number of PTSD cases between men and women.

Symptoms Of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

You must consult a professional for a diagnosis of PTSD, but you can learn the symptoms. Symptoms can begin as late as three months after the traumatic event, and must last for more than a month to be diagnosed for PTSD.

Symptoms can fall into four categories:

The 4 categories of PTSD symptoms: 1. experiencing the event 2. avoidance 3. cognitive/mood swings 4. Fight Flight or Freeze

Who Is Experiencing PTSD?

A woman with a head covering staring out of a window. She looks sad. Photo by Muhammad Ruqi Yaddin on Unsplash

It’s been almost a year, but Fatema is still having difficulty sleeping after witnessing the news footage of an African American man dying after being held in a chokehold. She now avoids the news.

A sad, young man looks directly at the camera. Photo by Joel Wyncott on Unsplash

Dennis escaped his house fire unharmed, but he lost all his belongings. It’s been a month, but he keeps having bad dreams of the event. He feels numb and thinks he may be depressed.

A sad, young woman looking off into the distance. Photo by Tess on Unsplash

Three months after the near fatal car accident, Jennifer refuses to drive and takes the city bus to run errands. Once when a car backfired, she froze in place, terrified. She has flashbacks of the accident.

Quiz

Which of the following people are experiencing PTSD?

Take Action

A pink brain with words written on it. Some of the words are PTSD, avoidance, helplessness, fear, and disorder. If you or a loved one has experienced any of the following symptoms for more than a month, please see a medical professional. You or your loved one may have PTSD.

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This Byte has been authored by

LR

Lonette Robertson

Veteran Teacher | Instructional Designer