Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a potentially debilitating condition that impacts many people who have witnessed or experienced traumatic situations, such as violent assaults, serious accidents, natural disasters, deaths of loved ones, or other frightening, shocking events. While some people are able to naturally recover from these incidents, those individuals diagnosed with PTSD may suffer lifelong stresses and anxieties. PTSD can be a severe condition, which is why many psychologists, like Patrick Weichert, have dedicated their careers to assisting people who live with PTSD-generated fear every day.
Nearly 7.7 million Americans over the age of eighteen suffer from some form of PTSD. Some traumatized people develop acute, or short-term, PTSD, while other individuals develop chronic, or long-term, symptoms. Signs of PTSD can be found in re-experiencing situations, like dreams and flashbacks; cognition and mood symptoms, involving distorted, negative thoughts and loss of interest in fun activities; avoidance symptoms, such as becoming emotionally numb or avoiding people and places that may trigger reactions; and reactivity symptoms, like insomnia, feeling edgy and tense, and having irrational, angry outbursts.
Patrick Weichert and other renowned PTSD psychologists have also studied the difference in symptoms between adults and children. Very young children, under the age of six, may become unusually insecure and gravitate toward adults. Some young children may also reenact the terrifying event, be unable to talk, or wet the bed even after being potty-trained. Older children and teenagers who develop PTSD are more likely to have the same symptoms that adults have, in addition to feeling guilty, acting out in destructive manners, and have desires for vengeance.