Post traumatic stress disorder overview

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

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Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.[1] It is a severe and ongoing emotional reaction to an extreme psychological trauma.[2] This stressor may involve someone's actual death or a threat to the patient's or someone else's life, serious physical injury, or threat to physical and/or psychological integrity, to a degree that usual psychological defenses are incapable of coping. It is important to make a distinction between PTSD and traumatic stress, which is a similar condition, but of less intensity and duration.[3] The condition has also been known historically or colloquially as shell shock, traumatic war neurosis, or post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS).


  1. National Institute of Mental Health, US National Institutes of Health
  2. David Satcher; et al. (1999). "Chapter 4.2". Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General.
  3. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

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