Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the collective name for a group of symptoms that can occur after experiencing a shocking, traumatic event. Traumatic means that a person has been injured. In case of PTSD, this is a mental injury that doesn’t heal properly. The patient is not able to process the trauma.


The causes can be very different. They are generally shocking events that underlie PTSD. Central to this condition is that a person feels powerless and helpless. All sense of safety and security seems to have been removed. Some possible causes are:

PTSD can occur immediately after a shocking event, but this doesn’t always have to be. Sometimes, it can take years before a person experiences PTSD.


The most common signs and symptoms of PTSD are:


There is no simple test to make a diagnosis of PTSD. Yet there is a questionnaire that can be used to examine whether there may be PTSD. A psychologist can determine a possible diagnosis by means of a structured interview and a number of measuring instruments.


There are various treatments for PTSD:


The prognosis varies. Healing is dependent upon the speed at which the symptoms occur, the diagnosis is made and treatment is started. The prognosis is usually good, provided that the person gets the chance to talk and express emotions about the traumatic event. If the disorder remains untreated, it can exist for a long time, but then decreases in seriousness.