Behavioral HealthBehavioral Health

Understanding Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Identifying Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can occur when an individual has experienced a terrifying ordeal or event. This experience could occur during military combat, a natural disaster, serious accident, or a violent personal assault. People with PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks.

Some individuals may detach to avoid reminders of the traumatic event. They may in turn end up feeling disconnected or estranged from family and friends.

What are some of the symptoms of PTSD?

It's important to know the signs of PTSD so treatment can begin as soon as possible. Symptoms can be severe and can make daily life difficult.

Individuals may experience:

  • difficulty sleeping
  • trouble concentrating
  • mood changes
  • feeling tense or on guard at all times/hypervigilance
  • avoidance of triggers

PTSD is complicated by the fact that it frequently occurs in conjunction with related disorders such as depression, alcohol or drug abuse, or any number of other mental health problems. PTSD is also associated with low functioning in social or family groups, including job instability, and marital or parenting issues. More »

  • Treatment Options

    Review the recommended treatment options and download an excellent discussion guide with questions to ask a health care provider.

  • National Center for PTSD’s Consultation Program

    The National Center for PTSD's Consultation Program is a no cost program for behavioral health providers interested in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Veterans.


    VHA TRAIN course topics include post-traumatic stress disorder, opioid overdose education and military culture awareness, among others.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Continually updated to provide quick answers to the most commonly asked questions.