Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

November 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder which can occur after a person has experienced significant trauma.

According the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), PTSD is characterized by:

  • Experiencing a traumatic event
  • Persistent re-experience of the event
  • Avoidance of stimuli that reminds the person of the event
  • Negative effects on mood and thought
  • Alterations in arousal and re-activity (such as angry outbursts, reckless behavior or trouble concentrating)

The symptoms of PTSD must occur for more than one month and must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning.

People can contract PTSD in a number of ways.  While the most common initiating event for PTSD is an in-person, experienced trauma (such as an assault against the patient), there are other experiences that also may induce PTSD.  These include:

  • Witnessing, in person, a traumatic event happening to another
  • Learning of a traumatic event that has occurred to a close friend or family member
  • Experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event (this does not include media exposure)

What’s important to know about PTSD is that, while it can be a life-altering illness, psychotherapy, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), prolonged exposure therapy, and EMDR, has been proven to yield positive results.

If you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of PTSD and are seeking help, please contact the psychologists at Verdant Oak Behavioral Health (VOBH) in South Pasadena, CA at 323-345-1402 or by visiting our website at




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