Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that can occur after you have experienced a traumatic event. PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but may be delayed several months or years. Symptoms also may come and go over many years. If the symptoms last longer than 4 weeks, cause you great distress, or interfere with your work/home life, you probably have PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD include reliving the event, avoiding places or things that remind you of the event, a shift to more negative thoughts and feelings, feeling numb, and feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal). If you think you have PTSD, it is important to get treatment. There are good treatments available for PTSD -- treatment can help you get better.
You may be wondering if you have symptoms of PTSD. In order to develop PTSD, a person must have experienced a trauma. Almost everyone who experiences trauma will experience some symptoms as a result. Yet most people do not develop PTSD. If you have experienced trauma, you may want to undergo screening in order to determine whether you have PTSD. A screen is a very short list of questions which helps to determine whether a person needs to be assessed further. A positive screen does not mean a person has PTSD. A positive screen means that this person should be assessed further by a mental health provider. My HealtheVet offers a confidential, anonymous screen for PTSD. None of the results are stored or sent anywhere. You can choose to print a copy of the results for your own records or to give to your physician or a mental health professional.