Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health diagnosis that affects about 4-10% of the US adult population. While many people associate PTSD with soldiers returning home from war, the disorder can affect many more people.

PTSD occurs when a person experiences a trauma that causes severe personal distress and anxiety. It can happen to anyone regardless of age or experience. It is not a permanent sentence though. PTSD is a treatable condition that can be treated through a variety of therapies and treatments.

There are many different misconceptions about post-traumatic stress disorder. Due to this, many people may be unaware that the stress that they are dealing with may be PTSD. The truth is that there are different types of PTSD and there are different causes and treatments for them.

Stress-Related Conditions, Including PTSD

PTSD is often confused with different stress and anxiety disorders because they are related and have similar symptoms. PTSD starts with a normal stress response. When that response is left untreated or if that response is severe enough, then post-traumatic stress disorder can develop.

Normal Stress Response

While PTSD starts with a normal stress response, not all responses become PTSD. It is natural for people to respond to stress and danger; everyone deals with stress in some way. Events like accidents, injuries, illnesses, surgeries, abandonment, and/or unreasonable amounts of tension and stress can all lead to a normal stress response.

For normal stress responses, often the best treatment is support from loved ones and individual talk therapy sessions. Group therapy can be beneficial as well. The support from a larger circle of supporters can sometimes be the most crucial part of recovery.

Acute Stress Disorder

Acute stress disorder is a similar disorder to PTSD that occurs when a person is exposed to a life-threatening event. Events like loss of a loved one, car accidents, natural disasters, and other events with the risk of death are associated with acute stress disorder. If left untreated, acute stress disorder can become PTSD. Like PTSD, acute stress disorder can be treated by therapy, group support, medication, and even more intensive treatments.

Uncomplicated PTSD

Uncomplicated PTSD is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder that results from a major traumatic event. Symptoms for uncomplicated PTSD include the following:

  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Irritability
  • Mood Changes
  • A strong desire to avoid reminders of the trauma.

Uncomplicated PTSD like other stress disorders and trauma is treatable.

Complex PTSD

Complex, or complicated PTSD, is the result of multiple traumas. This type of PTSD is common in situations involving abuse or domestic violence, as well as situations of repeated exposure to war, community violence, or sudden loss.

Complex PTSD symptoms include all of the symptoms of simple or uncomplicated PTSD. It is treatable though. The difference is that complex PTSD requires some additional treatment.

Comorbid PTSD

Comorbid PTSD is also known under the umbrella of co-occurring disorders. This term is applied when a person has more than one mental health concern, and/or a substance use disorder. Comorbid PTSD is highly common, as many people suffer from more than one condition at a time.

Do You Think You Might Have PTSD?

PTSD is a treatable disorder that affects many different people. Many people view PTSD as a sign of weakness so they try to hide it or fix it on their own. Others choose to turn to drugs, alcohol, and other substance abuse to self-medicate the pain. There is help available though.

The journey to recovery doesn’t have to be taken alone. For help recovering from PTSD, call Old Vineyard Behavioral Hospital today.


1 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. PTSD: National Center for PTSD. How Common is PTSD? 03 Oct 2016.