Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Many crime survivors may experience changes in their mood, thoughts, and behaviors that were not there prior to being victimized.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a real illness which approximately 3.6 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-54 (5.2 million people) experience during the course of a given year.  PTSD can also afflict children.       

PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that occurs after a traumatic event in which your safety or your life is threatened.  Examples of traumatic events can include the following:  rape, physical abuse, being a victim of a crime, car crash, or natural disaster.  The event generally needs to make you feel afraid and helpless.  Symptoms can develop soon after the event occurs or many months afterwards.     

Why some individuals develop PTSD after a traumatic event and some do not is still up for debate.  Developing PTSD may be effected by the severity of the trauma, the length of the traumatic event, prior history of mental health disorders, and prior traumas.      

Without treatment symptoms can persist.  Symptoms can include the following:

·        Having flashbacks of the event, nightmares, bad memories or hallucinations

·        Trying not to think about the trauma or staying away from people or places that remind you of it

·        Not being able to recall parts of the event

·        Feeling emotionally numb or detached from others

·        Having trouble sleeping

·        Being irritable, angry, or jumpy

·        Having a hard time trusting or feeling close to others         

If you think you might have PTSD realize that treatment is available.  PTSD can be successfully treated. Your doctor or mental health professional can diagnose PTSD.  Effective treatment approaches usually include medications along with psychotherapy.  If you would like more information about PTSD call 1-866-615-6464.  The call is free and a free information pamphlet will be mailed to you.   

Catherine Shreenan, LMFTCatherine Shreenan is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist who specializes in providing therapy for clients who have been traumatized.  Her private practice is located in
Newport Beach, California.  She can be reached by phone at (714) 717-3848 for a free 15 minute phone consultation  or you can e-mail her at
[email protected] if you have questions.