post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

An anxiety disorder that can develop after traumatic events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, traumatic brain injury, physical and sexual assault in adults or children, and any other traumatic experience. PTSD can be diagnosed a month or more after the traumatic event has occurred.

An anxiety disorder generally caused by undergoing an extremely emotional traumatic event, according to the National Center for PTSD. Such events may include assault, war, sexual assault, natural disasters, car accidents or imprisonment. Symptoms may include reliving the traumatic event, avoidance of certain behaviors, negative emotions or physical symptoms such as dizziness or nausea.

Refer to someone as having PTSD only if the information is relevant* to the story and the person has been formally diagnosed by a reputable source. Post-traumatic stress disorder is correct on first reference; use PTSD on second reference. The term flashback may be used to denote reliving an event that triggered the PTSD.


« Back to Glossary Index

Share This!