Traumatic events can be human induced like war, terrorism, assaults and car accidents, or they can be caused by natural disasters like earthquakes, bushfires and floods. These events are usually very different to any challenges we’ve had before, and they can be very hard to come to terms with and process in our minds.
Traumatic events can be shocking and overwhelming and often cause fear, sadness, anger and grief. These symptoms are all natural and part of our natural human response to danger. Over time, with support from family and friends, we start to make sense of what’s happened. These feelings usually fade and we recover.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) differs from regular stress or trauma in that the symptoms are persistent and ongoing. Around 10% of people who experience trauma develop PTSD. People with PTSD usually show a significant change in behavior, mood, and thoughts immediately after a trauma. However, they can also manifest with a delay of several months or even years. And the greater the magnitude of the trauma, the greater the risk for developing PTSD.