Today is PTSD awareness day. Millions of people in the United States develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder every year. Anyone who is a witness to trauma can develop PTSD.
Historically, PTSD was known by various names. Called "Soldier's heart" in the American Civil War, it was known as "Shell Shock" in World War I and "Combat Fatigue" in World War II.
Symptoms include depression, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, flashbacks and nightmares, feeling detached, experiencing restricted emotional affect and a sense of a foreshortened future. The person also may suffer from difficulty sleeping, be hypervigilant, angry and have an exaggerated startle response.
Children with PTSD may lose a recently acquired developmental skill such as potty training.
Any traumatic event may trigger PTSD in anyone, even if others similarly exposed do not go on to develop it.
The most effective treatment for PTSD is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) sometimes coupled with SSRI medication.
For more information on PTSD visit http://www.ptsd.va.gov.