Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after experiencing a traumatic event. During this type of event, the person feels like her/his life or others' lives are in danger as well as loss of control over what is happening. Anyone who has experienced a life-threatening event can develop PTSD. These events can include:
Combat exposure, child sexual or physical abuse, terrorist attacks, sexual or physical assault, serious accidents, and natural disasters, such as a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake. Exposure to a traumatic experience does not always result in PTSD.
Experts think PTSD occurs:
- In about 11-20% of Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom)
- In as many as 10% of Gulf War (Desert Storm) Veterans
- In about 30% of Vietnam Veterans (US Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD)