What is PTSD? It is one of the most serious mental disorders that a person can have. It is emotionally debilitating, causing recurring memories or flashbacks of nightmarish moments. It also brings forth sleeplessness, apathy, anger, irritability, and anxiety.

Imagine days regularly troubled with intrusive memories and emotional turmoil; anybody would want to escape. For this reason, many PTSD sufferers turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. It’s a temporary fix that effectively only makes matters worse, but many of those who have PTSD understandably fail to think beyond the immediate. Such circumstances often bring forth a desperation that craves fast relief.

A usual follow-up question to “What is PTSD?” is “What causes it?” PTSD is basically a condition stemming from an experience or set of experiences that elicited a huge amount of stress or anxiety. Such an experience typically involves being engaged in a traumatic event. This trauma, whether physical or psychological, leaves a person feeling helpless and out of control, which often leads to a case of PTSD. Some of the most common experiences that cause individuals to suffer from PTSD are:

  • Military combat – This is why so many of our soldiers come home changed. Even when they return in good physical health, the mental anguish that their experience in battle left them can do as much harm as physical injury or illness can.
  • Violent and/or sexual assault – Anything that leaves a person feeling violated can be traumatic. Victims usually need therapy for a long time before they can get past the experience. Even when the assault was a mere attempt and not completely perpetrated, the intended victim can still suffer from trauma.
  • Accidents and natural disasters – Such experiences are extremely stressful, especially if the survivor is also experiencing loss. As a rule, victims of accidents and natural disasters need more than physical healing, which is why counseling is also typically offered to them.
  • Abuse – Whether it’s childhood abuse or other forms of domestic abuse, its effects can derail victims from moving forward to a better quality of life. The terror remains, which is why therapy is absolutely paramount. It doesn’t have to be physical abuse. Even emotional and mental abuse can leave such deep, debilitating scars.

Those memories typically involved in cases of PTSD are crises that have yet to be fully resolved in the patient’s psyche. Flashbacks often occur as a way to work through feelings of unresolved anger and fear.