Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events.
The type of events that can cause PTSD include:
- military combat
- serious road accidents
- terrorist attacks
- natural disasters, such as severe floods, earthquakes or tsunamis
- being held hostage
- witnessing violent deaths
- violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery
PTSD can develop immediately after someone experiences a disturbing event or it can occur weeks, months or even years later.
PTSD can develop in any situation where a person feels extreme fear, horror or helplessness. However, it doesn’t usually develop after situations that are simply upsetting, such as divorce, job loss or failing exams.