A Brighter Tomorrow: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

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The American Psychiatric Association defines PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as a psychiatric disorder that manifests as a result of experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Some examples of potentially traumatic events are natural disasters, serious accidents, terrorist acts, war, rape, being threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury. 

The APA also says Americans are exposed to countless images and videos of violent scenes regularly. A recent example is the video that showed the killing of George Floyd while in police custody earlier this year. 

Direct exposure to traumatic events can cause PTSD; however, indirect and repeated exposure has also been proven to have the same effects. 

A study conducted by the APA in 2019 found women experience more significant PTSD and depressive symptoms than men. The study also found that an estimated one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. To be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must be exposed to an upsetting, traumatic event. However, that event could be indirect. The APA says an example of this would be learning about a close family or friend's violent death. 

People with PTSD might experience intense, disturbing thoughts related to the traumatic event after it has ended. Treatment is available. The APA says different types of therapy and medication can help people diagnosed with PTSD.