If you have experienced or seen at least one traumatic event, you may be at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the American Psychiatric Association. Bullying, domestic violence, sexual assault, war, terrorism, accidents, natural disasters and more are examples of trauma that can trigger PTSD.

PTSD can affect all areas of health, and anyone can be affected by PTSD. About one in 11 people will receive a PTSD diagnosis in their lifetime, and women are two times more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD than men. People who are Latino, Black or Native American are more likely to experience PTSD, but anyone in any racial or ethnic group can experience it.

You may be experiencing PTSD if you:

  • Have disturbing feelings and thoughts about your traumatic experience that last months to years after the event
  • Have nightmares or flashbacks about your traumatic experience
  • Feel angry, fearful and sad or depressed
  • Feel like you do not connect with other people
  • Avoid people or scenarios that serve as reminders of your traumatic experience
  • React strongly to an unexpected touch or a loud noise

To receive a PTSD diagnosis, you must have symptoms for more than a month, and the symptoms need to significantly impact your daily life.


Some people can recover from PTSD without treatment or with the help of religious leaders, friends or family. However, for many, treatment can help them restore their lives. Earlier treatment of PTSD can result in better outcomes.

Effective treatments can include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a type of therapy that can help you explore your fear and your traumatic experience by helping you to think differently about it and how you are affected by it. CBT can include different individual or group therapies.
  • Supportive therapy that helps you manage the interpersonal and emotional effects of PTSD. This may help you if you do not want to be reminded of your specific traumatic experience.
  • A peer support group that can help you connect with others who have PTSD. You may find it helpful to share your emotions and experiences with the group members, because they may be able to relate to you.
  • Medication, which can help you manage symptoms and help you participate in therapy. Antidepressants, anxiety medication or other medications can help.

Also, complementary and alternative therapies may help you manage your PTSD. You might consider trying:

  • Animal-assisted therapy
  • Yoga
  • Acupuncture

With proper treatment, you can manage your PTSD and get your life back. UofL Health – Peace Hospital can be reached at 502-451-3333 for a no-cost level-of-care assessment and assistance with treatment options.

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Greg Oerther, CSW

Greg Oerther, CSW, earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Kentucky in social work. Since 2005, he has been a certified social worker in Kentucky. At UofL Health he has served as the behavioral outreach coordinator with UofL Health – Peace Hospital since 2015.

All posts by Greg Oerther, CSW
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