Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Most people (6 of every 10 men and 5 of every 10 women) experience a traumatic event at some point. Around 7-8% of people in the general population will develop PTSD at some point in their lives. For combat Veterans, estimates vary by service era ranging from 11% to 30%.

Overview

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that someone can develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening traumatic event like war, assault, or disaster. Most people have some stress reactions after a trauma. If the reactions (such as upsetting memories of the event, increased jumpiness, or trouble sleeping) don't go away over time or disrupt one's life, they may have PTSD.

PTSD has four types of symptoms:

  • Re-experiencing symptoms (reliving the event), including unwanted intrusive thoughts of the traumatic experience, nightmares, and having physical or emotional reactions to reminders of the event.

  • Avoidance symptoms, including avoiding people, places, or activities that are reminders of the trauma and emotional numbing.

  • Negative changes in one's thoughts or moods that began or worsened after the event.

  • Hyperarousal (feeling keyed up), including being on edge, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances and being easily startled.

PTSD often co-occurs with other disorders such as panic, phobic, or generalized anxiety disorders, depression, or substance abuse.

Veteran Voices

Experiences with PTSD and PTSD Treatment

Veterans, family members, and clinicians share their experiences with PTSD and PTSD treatment. View additional videos on the AboutFace website.

Video source: AboutFace

National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD)

The National Center for PTSD was created in 1989 within the Department of Veterans Affairs to address the needs of Veterans and other trauma survivors with PTSD. The mission of the National Center is to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's Veterans and others who have experienced trauma, or who suffer from PTSD, through research, education, and training.

Visit the National Center’s website for extensive information on various aspects of PTSD including assessment, treatment essentials, and working with specific populations.

The Center’s PTSD Consultation Program is available to any provider who treats U.S. Veterans with PTSD. Expert clinicians provide free consultations about assessment, treatment, educational options, and other resources.

Training to Treat PTSD

PTSD Consultation Program Lecture Series

The National Center hosts a free live webinar, presented on the third Wednesday of each month, on topics relevant to treating Veterans with PTSD. Free continuing education credits (CEUs) available for those who register.

PTSD Continuing Education

Earn free CE/CMEs from over 35 courses related to trauma and PTSD, presented by staff at the National Center for PTSD.

The Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP)

CDP offers an extensive selection of online and in-person educational opportunities, including in-depth training on evidence-based treatments for PTSD including Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).

PsychArmor

This national non-profit organization is dedicated to bridging the military-civilian divide through free online education. PsychArmor has an online course focused on posttraumatic stress disorder.