For most people, PTSD starts within about three months of the traumatic event. For some people, signs of PTSD don't show up until years later. PTSD can happen to anyone at any age. Even children can have it. Some people get better within six months, while others may have the disorder for much longer. Symptoms of PTSD may vary in frequency and intensity over time, and may fall into three categories:
Physical symptoms may also occur such as:
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). American Psychiatric Association; 2000.
DynaMed Editors. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated August 18, 2010. Accessed August 24, 2010.
National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov.
Stern, TA et al. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia: Mosby Elsevier, 2008.
Last reviewed November 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
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