When someone is exposed to a perceived or actual threat, or when someone learns that a close family member or friend has been exposed to a threat, it can be very traumatising. The term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was originally developed in the 1980s when some returning soldiers were found to be experiencing flashbacks and experiencing ongoing trauma, despite being away from the traumatic experience. Research has identified that anyone, not just soldiers can experience PTSD.
Some symptoms of PTSD include re-experiencing the traumatic event, recurrent dreams related to the traumatic event, and flashbacks. People may avoid situations or memories of the trauma. They may develop negative beliefs about themselves and others. PTSD may lead to isolation, self-destructive behaviours, sleep disturbance or alcohol or other substance abuse. PTSD can occur at any age.
Therapy can help alleviate these symptoms, and there are various therapeutic approaches including EMDR used in this regard.