Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is triggered by an event that poses a risk to a person’s life or physical integrity. During this event, the sufferer feels powerless and very scared.

By Delphine Caubet

The highest profile cases involve soldiers back from battle. But victims of crime can also feel the same symptoms. Women are more susceptible to PTSD than are men. The root causes are still not clear.

People afflicted with PTSD constantly relive the traumatic event. Whether it’s a car accident, a sexual assault… Their brain is always on the alert for danger, even if there is no danger present.

PTSD symptoms include depression, anxiety, and sexual problems. Drug use is common among victims looking for a way to escape their trauma. But in the long term, drugs only serve to increase anxiety and depression.

Sufferers want things to “the way they were before.” They want to suppress their memories, which is impossible.

If you can, consult a health care professional to find a new balance in your life. One out of two PTSD sufferers spontaneously feels better after about a couple of years. For the other half, the condition remains chronic.

  • First published in Reflet de Société magazine, vol. 27, no.1, spring 2019, page 13

Suicide prevention hotlines:

Québec: 1-866-APPELLE (277-3553).  CLSCs can also help you.
Canada: Canada Suicide Prevention Service 833-456-4566
U.S.: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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