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Unit Updates

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?


A person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has either witnessed or personally experienced a traumatic event, and responded to this event with fear, helplessness, or horror. They also subsequently experience the continual triggering of fearful and intense memories of the trauma (e.g., daytime memories, flashbacks, nightmares).

What are the symptoms of PTSD?


      •   It is common to experience stress following exposure to a traumatic event, but for most people the signs of stress disappear within days or weeks. For a person with PTSD, the symptoms are more severe, last longer (e.g., sometimes for many years), and they interfere with functioning in areas such as work, academics, and relationships.
      •   A person with PTSD experiences increased arousal. For example, they may have difficulty sleeping and/or concentrating. They may also feel irritable, jumpy, and on guard. A person with PTSD may often avoid situations, people, and/or places that remind him/her of the trauma.

Who gets PTSD?


      •   Approximately 1.0% of Canadian adults experience PTSD over a 12-month period.
      •   Both genetics and life experiences (e.g., parenting style, role modelling from other people, previous exposure to trauma) are thought to contribute to the development of PTSD.
      •   The nature of the trauma also influences the likelihood of a person developing PTSD. Relevant factors include the severity and duration of exposure to the traumatic event, how close the person was to the event, how many other traumatic experiences the person has had, and whether or not the trauma was inflicted by another person.

Treatment for PTSD


PTSD is treatable! In clinical trials of the best treatments for PTSD around two thirds of people reduce their symptoms to a normal level. You can talk to your Family Doctor about getting a referral to a Clinical Psychologist, Psychiatrist, or another mental health professional trained to treat PTSD. At this time the Online Therapy unit does not offer a course for PTSD.