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What is Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome?

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) can affect anyone at any age who has been exposed to a traumatic event where he/she experienced terror, threat (or perceived threat) to life, limb or sanity and his/her ability to cope was overwhelmed. Conservative estimates show that three to ten percent of the U.S. population has PTSD. Among people who were victims of specific traumatic experiences (war, torture, a natural disaster, an automobile accident, an airplane crash, a hostage situation, rape, sexual assault, child abuse, violent assaults, etc.), the rate of PTSD is much higher.

Most people who are exposed to a traumatic, stressful event experience some of the symptoms of PTSD in the days and weeks following exposure. Available data suggest that about 8% of men and 20% of women go on to develop PTSD, and roughly 30% of these individuals develop a chronic form that persists throughout their lifetimes.
Many sufferers of PTSD avoid treatment, but it is common for those who do seek treatment to be misdiagnosed. Because PTSD often occurs at the same time as other physiological and mental health disorders, PTSD symptoms may be masked or difficult to identify.