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Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a delayed and/or protracted response to a stressful event of an exceptionally threatening or catastrophic nature.

The three major elements of PTSD include

1)

reexperiencing the trauma through dreams or recurrent and intrusive thoughts (“flashbacks”)

2)

showing emotional numbing such as feeling detached from others

3)

having symptoms of autonomic hyperarousal such as irritability and exaggerated startle response, insomnia

Commonly there is fear and avoidance of cues that remind the sufferer of the original trauma. Anxiety and depression are commonly associated with the above symptoms. Excessive use of alcohol and drugs may be a complicating factor.

The onset follows the trauma with a latency period, which may range from several weeks to months, but rarely more than half a year.

The lifetime prevalence is estimated at about 0.5% in men and 1.2% in women.

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