Footsteps in sand on a beach

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the name given to a group of psychological problems. These problems can occur when a person experiences, or sees, a traumatic event, or a series of traumatic events.

A traumatic event is one that makes a person feel that he or she, or other people, are under threat.

PTSD can be caused in various ways:

  • by a single event, e.g. being attacked, or being involved in an accident; 
  • by a series of events, e.g. being physically, or sexually abused; 
  • by a long-lasting episode during which the individual feels threatened in some way, e.g. by being stalked, or harassed at work.

For an event to be traumatic, it does not have to be dangerous. Instead, what matters is whether the person feels threatened. E.g. even a minor accident can cause PTSD because, after the accident, the person no longer feels safe in his/her car.

Further information can be found on the right.

External resources

Self-help documents