Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed life-threatening events such as natural disasters, serious accidents, terrorist incidents, war, or violent personal assaults like rape. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through flashbacks or nightmares, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged.

PTSD has often been misunderstood or misdiagnosed, even though the disorder has very specific symptoms. Although it was once thought to be mostly a disorder of war veterans who had been involved in heavy combat, researchers now know that PTSD also affects both female and male civilians after events such as:

Assault, Domestic abuse, Prison stay, Rape, Terrorism, War

PTSD often occurs with—or may contribute to—other related disorders, such as depression, substance abuse, problems with memory, and other problems of physical and mental health. Everyone who experiences trauma does not require treatment; some recover with the help of family, friends, or clergy. But many do need professional treatment to recover from the psychological damage that can result from experiencing, witnessing, or participating in an overwhelmingly traumatic event.

PTSD usually appears within three months of the trauma, but sometimes the disorder appears later.

Symptoms of PTSD fall into three main categories:

1. “Reliving” the event, which disturbs day-to-day activity

  • Flashback episodes, where the event seems to be happening again and again
  • Repeated upsetting memories of the event
  • Repeated nightmares of the event
  • Strong, uncomfortable reactions to situations that remind you of the event

2. Avoidance

  • Emotional “numbing,” or feeling as though you don’t care about anything
  • Feeling detached
  • Being unable to remember important aspects of the trauma
  • Having a lack of interest in normal activities
  • Showing less of your moods
  • Avoiding places, people, or thoughts that remind you of the event
  • Feeling like you have no future

3. Arousal

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Startling easily
  • Having an exaggerated response to things that startle you
  • Feeling more aware (hyper vigilance)
  • Feeling irritable or having outbursts of anger
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep

Individual with PTSD might feel guilt about the event (including “survivor guilt”) and might also have some of the following symptoms: agitation or excitability, dizziness, fainting, feeling your heart beat in your chest, headache.

We understand that PTSD is a very serious condition and we have knowledge, expertise, desire and commitment to help you or a loved one to recover from your traumatic experience. CCCA medical and clinical staff are committed to helping our veterans with PTSD upon their return from service. We understand that easing back into every day life can present challenges for our veterans, and we are here to help you to make a transition. Please visit our educational section to learn about resources available to you in the state of Pennsylvania.

At CCCA we offer the following methods of treatment:

Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Exposure therapy, Psychodynamic psychotherapy, Family therapy, Medication. Remember: recovery is possible and you are not alone. Millions of people suffer from PTSD and seeking help may make a huge difference in your life. Talk about your feelings with friends and relatives. If your symptoms do not improve soon or are making you very upset, contact us for an appointment.

Download PTSD brochure provided by National Institute of Mental Health >>

Download Mental Health information sheet for military members and families >>