Post-traumatic stress disorder  (PTSD) can affect anyone at any age. Millions of Americans get PTSD every year. Many war veterans have had PTSD, but did you know women tend to get PTSD more often than men? No matter the cause, PTSD can be treated. You can feel better. 

What is PTSD? 

Post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a real illness. You can get PTSD after living through or seeing a dangerous event, such as war, a hurricane, a violent event, or a bad accident. PTSD makes you feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over. It affects your life and the people around you. If you have PTSD, you can get treatment and feel better. 

PTSD can happen to anyone at any age. Children get PTSD too. You don’t have to be physically hurt to get PTSD. You can also get it after you see other people get hurt. 

Living through or seeing something that’s upsetting and dangerous can cause PTSD. This can include: 

  • Being a victim of or seeing violence 
  • The death or serious illness of a loved one  
  • War or combat  
  • Car accidents and plane crashes  
  • Hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires  
  • Violent crimes, like a robbery or shooting. 

There are many other things that can cause PTSD. Talk to your doctor if you are troubled by something that happened to you or someone you care about. 

How do I know if I have PTSD? 

Signs of PTSD may start soon after a frightening event for some, while other people might develop new or more severe signs months or even years later. Call your doctor if you experience any of these problems: 

  • Bad dreams  
  • Flashbacks, or feeling like the scary event is happening again  
  • Scary thoughts you can’t control  
  • Staying away from places and things that remind you of what happened  
  • Feeling worried, guilty, or sad  
  • Feeling alone  
  • Trouble sleeping  
  • Feeling on edge  
  • Angry outbursts  
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or others. 

Children who have PTSD may show other types of problems. These can include:  

  • Behaving like they did when they were younger  
  • Being unable to talk  
  • Complaining of stomach problems or headaches a lot  
  • Refusing to go places or play with friends. 

PTSD can be treated 

A doctor or mental health professional who has experience in treating people with PTSD can help you. Treatment may include “talk” therapy, medication, or both. 

Treatment might take weeks, months, or longer. Treatment is not the same for everyone. What works for you might not work for someone else. 

Drinking alcohol or using other drugs will not help PTSD go away and may even make it worse. 

If you think you might be experiencing PTSD, please reach out to the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services Philadelphia Crisis Line at (215) 685-6440. Or visit the DBHIDS Boost Your Mood page at for resources, tips, an anonymous self-assessment tool, and much more to help you begin your journey to wellness. 

It’s OK to not be OK. You’re not alone. DBHIDS is here to help.