According to the National Center for PTSD of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur after a traumatic event (e.g., combat, assault, disaster, accident). Most people have some stress reactions after a trauma. If the reactions do not go away over time, the individual may have PTSD. PTSD symptoms fall into four categories:  (1) reliving the event; (2) avoiding reminders of the event; (3) negative changes in beliefs and feelings; and (4) feeling keyed up.

Not all traumatic events result in PTSD. Even though over half of the population experiences some type of trauma, only about 8% develop PTSD over the course of their lives. Most people will get better without treatment in the first year. For those with symptoms longer than a year, it is likely that these symptoms will remain without effective treatment.

Since there is no single treatment that will work for every person with PTSD, the VA recommends three evidence-based psychotherapy treatment:  cognitive processing therapy (CPT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, and prolonged exposure (PE)­­.  All three types of psychotherapy treatment involve weekly sessions with homework assignments for two to three months.  Medication is not generally prescribed alone but accompanies psychotherapy.  In addition, the VA has developed resources (informational materials, tools, videos, and apps) to help Veterans tackle their PTSD: