Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 2000 1333 Team Mindsum
Listen to this article (09:20)
Last updated: 4 January 2021

What is PTSD?

Causes of PTSD

The symptoms of PTSD

Treating PTSD

List of useful resources

How Mindsum can help?

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a form of anxiety that is experienced by people who have been exposed to traumatic events. It is a common mental health condition, that can affect people of all ages, including children and young people.

Following exposure to a traumatic event (e.g. witnessing a severe accident) it is normal for people to feel disturbed by the incident and have some difficulties, such as nightmares and low mood. This is known as an acute stress reaction and it usually disappears after some weeks.

For some people, these difficulties can be more severe and persist over time, lasting longer than one month. This is a sign that they could be suffering from PTSD.

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

People who repeatedly experience traumatic situations, such as severe neglect, abuse or violence, may be diagnosed with complex PTSD.

Complex PTSD can cause similar symptoms to PTSD and may not develop until years after the event. It’s often more severe if the trauma was experienced early in life, as this can affect a child’s development.

Causes of PTSD

There are many traumatic situations or events that can cause a child or young person to develop PTSD. Some people might find some events more traumatic than others. Examples of traumatic events include:

  • Serious car accidents

  • Physical or sexual abuse

  • Being attacked, kidnapped or held hostage

  • Childhood abuse

  • Witnessing or being involved in domestic abuse 

  • Surviving war or natural disasters

  • Witnessing or being involved in torture

  • Witnessing death, or the deceased

  • Learning that someone close to you has been affected by trauma (known as secondary trauma)

Not all exposure to distressing events will cause a person to develop PTSD. But there are some risk factors that can make this more likely to happen. This includes:

  • Being a child or young person

  • If the trauma was a physical assault or rape in nature

  • Having experienced previous traumas

  • Experiencing many stressors at the same time

  • Having a history of mental health disorders

  • Being a child with a lack of support from family members

  • Being a child of parents with mental health difficulties

    Your Name *

    Your Email *

      Privacy Preferences

      When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in the form of cookies. Here you can change your Privacy preferences. It is worth noting that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we are able to offer.

      Click to enable/disable Google Analytics tracking code.
      Click to enable/disable Google Fonts.
      Click to enable/disable Google Maps.
      Click to enable/disable video embeds.
      Our website uses cookies, mainly from 3rd party services. Please confirm, if you agree to our Privacy Preferences and our use of cookies.