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“My brother died in my arms in the hospital. After he died it was like I went numb. I had never experienced anything like this before. I felt haunted by the image of his lifeless, emaciated body lying on the hospital bed – his eyes and mouth wide open. I knew he didn’t want to be remembered this way but I couldn’t stop the images from coming. They would flood my mind and it was like I was in the hospital with him all over again.  I started having nightmares about his death and couldn’t sleep. I felt so agitated all the time. It was really hard just to get through each day.”

Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs when you have been exposed to traumatic events that cause you to experience distressing psychological symptoms which become disabling to you. Events that can cause Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder include kidnapping, sexual assault, physical assault, tornadoes or hurricanes, witnessing the death or serious injury of another person, being in or witnessing a car or plane crash, etc.

After experiencing the trauma, you find it difficult to move on in your life as the event replays itself over and over in your mind. At night, your sleeping habits may become disturbed and/or you may begin to have nightmares.  You might find yourself angered more and much more intensely and/or numb and find yourself pulling away emotionally from your loved ones.  These symptoms usually appear shortly after the event, and likely within three months following the traumatic event, however, in some cases, symptoms sometimes don’t appear until many months or even years later.

In order to receive a diagnosis of Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder the following symptoms must have been present for at least one month and must be interfering significantly with your current life.

Symptoms of Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder include:

  • Feeling detached or estranged from others
  • Emotional numbness- being out of touch with your feelings
  • Intense Flashbacks- feeling as though you are reliving the event all over again
  • Nightmares
  • Repetitive, distressing thoughts about the incident
  • Trying to avoid the thoughts or feelings associated with the event
  • Trying to avoid external situations or activities that remind you of the incident

If you think you may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, speak with your family physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist.


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