At a glance

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is “the development of a set of reactions in people who have experienced a traumatic event that might have threatened their life or safety, or others around them. Examples of traumatic events can include war or torture, serious accidents, physical or sexual assault, or disasters. A person who has PTSD can experience feelings of helplessness, horror or intense fear.” (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare)

Post-traumatic stress disorder is when memories of a traumatic event are relived and affect a person physically and/or emotionally. Flashbacks can be triggered by sounds, smells and images.

People may experience flashbacks, nightmares, sweating, palpitations and panic, trouble sleeping, angry and emotional outbursts, feelings of hopelessness and not feeling safe. They may avoid things that remind them of the trauma they have experienced or be constantly on alert for threats. Some people experience no emotion, feel numb and may be unaware of things that are happening around them.

The steps people take to avoid trauma-related stimuli is part of the diagnosis and important for workers, who may not understand why the person does not want to do particular things.

- A person with lived experience of a mental health condition

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Resources

Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health
Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health (formerly the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health) promotes recovery for Australians affected by trauma. The site contains a range of resources for individuals, practitioners and organisations.

PTSD and recovery
This fact sheet provides information about trauma, PTSD, and treatment options.
Type: Fact sheet
Length: 6 pages
Produced by: Phoenix Australia

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
This fact sheet provides an overview of PTSD, the causes, the symptoms and treatment options.
Type: Fact sheets
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Produced by: SANE AustraliaU

What PTSD Is Really Like
This is a video of people sharing their experiences of PTSD.
Type: Video
Viewing time: 3.56 minutes
Closed captions: Yes
Produced by: BuzzFeed Video

Current as at: Friday 20 May 2022
Contact page owner: Mental Health Branch