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Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • 2 million people in the UK are affected by PTSD
  • 1 in 4of those living with PTSD get treatment
  • £400kis spent on research on PTSD each year in the UK

What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder triggered by traumatic events in a person’s life such as real or threatened death, severe injury or sexual assault. 

PTSD can affect people of any age, and the symptoms normally begin within the first three months after the traumatic experience.

What are the signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder?

People with PTSD usually experience nightmares, flashbacks, and vivid upsetting memories of what they went through. They may also feel very anxious and ‘on edge’, and may try to avoid being reminded of the traumatic event.

The condition can cause severe and lasting distress and the memories of traumatic events can be very difficult to come to terms with, but it is never too late to seek help.

Fortunately 2 in every 3 people who develop problems after a traumatic experience get better within a few weeks without treatment. However if you need treatment for PTSD, this is usually a psychological talking therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Around half of adults with PTSD will recover within three months, while some will be affected for over a year or much longer. 

Our research into PTSD


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Get information and advice on bipolar disorder at NHS Choices. If you're having a mental health emergency find out who to turn to using our urgent help and advice resource.

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