Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a horrific accident, rape or other violent assault, prolonged abuse, a natural disaster, or war.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD affects approximately 3.5% of US adults and an estimated 1 in 11 people will experience PTSD in their lifetime.

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Although symptoms vary from person to person, there are some that are widespread. People with PTSD often relive the traumatic event through flashbacks or recurring nightmares; they may feel sadness, fear, or anger; and may have strong negative reactions to sudden events such as a loud noise or a startling touch.

The most common mental health comorbidity to PTSD is depression, and people with PTSD may often suffer from substance abuse.

Cognitive processing therapy is the current gold standard treatment for PTSD.

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Parekh R. What is posttraumatic stress disorder? American Psychiatric Association website. Updated January 2017. Accessed November 3, 2017.