What is PTSD?

October 2, 2019

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an emotional response to a frightening and/or dangerous experience involving actual or threatened harm. Although any real danger may have passed, the thoughts and memories from that experience can heavily impact a person’s life.

Someone with PTSD may look as if they are anxious, depressed, scared, or easily startled but the symptoms are more complex than that. PTSD symptoms usually appear within three months of the event however, that is not always the case as symptoms may not become visible until years later. Common symptoms include:

  • Recurring nightmares

  • Difficulty falling and/or staying asleep

  • Constantly re-experiencing the traumatic event

  • Feeling upset when being reminded of the event

  • Keeping a distance from people, places or activities that may be a reminder of the traumatic experience

  • Avoiding family and friends

  • Losing interest in activities that were once enjoyable

  • Unable to feel pleasure

  • Easily getting angry

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Constantly worrying

  • Shortness of breath and fast heartbeat

  • Fearing harm from others

  • Fear of death

Like other mental health conditions, there are different types of PTSD. PTSD can be categorized into five groups:

  1. Normal stress response

  2. Acute stress disorder

  3. Uncomplicated PTSD

  4. Comorbid PTSD

  5. Complex PTSD

Though there are several forms of PTSD, the most severe is complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). C-PTSD is a psychological disorder that can develop from a prolonged and repeated traumatic experience in which the individual has little to no chance to escape. Often, those with complex PTSD feel alienated which may be frightening. As you can imagine, living with PTSD can be challenging and this disorder may act as an obstacle which is why it is important to seek treatment. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to PTSD, therapy methods such as somatic experiencing and neurofeedback may be an effective treatment option.

For more information on PTSD click here


National Center. (2018, October 08). Types of PTSD. Retrieved from

Reiter, K., Andersen, S. B., & Carlsson, J. (2016). Neurofeedback treatment and posttraumatic stress disorder: effectiveness of neurofeedback on posttraumatic stress disorder and the optimal choice of protocol. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 204, 69-77. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000418.

Van der Kolk, B. (2015). The body keeps the score. United States: Penguin Books.