Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has gained a lot of attention over the last few years because of the number of soldiers who return from Iraq diagnosed with PTSD. It may be surprising to know that PTSD may occur in civilian populations as well and is sometimes present after motor vehicle accidents, industrial injuries, diagnosis of serious illness, natural disaster, physical abuse, and other traumatic events. Fortunately, many evidenced based cognitive therapies have recently been developed and have been found to be highly effective in treating PTSD.
When to seek treatment: In most people who experience a traumatic event, traumatic stress responses typically clear up without treatment. However, some people (5-10%) have difficulty resolving the issue without help. In fact, if symptoms are present 6-12 months after a traumatic event, research indicates that symptoms will probably not subside on their own. Studies also suggest that those with partial symptoms of PTSD, who do not meet full diagnostic criteria, can also benefit psychologically from treatment.
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