Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


By Dr Nisha Khanna , Psychology

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is classified under stress related psychological disorders by “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V)”. PTSD is characterized by severe distress and difficulty in leading a normal life following a traumatic event. PTSD may develop because of surviving a traumatic event yourself, witnessing the event occurring to someone else, learning about the event or getting to know all the details of the event.


  1. Severe and prolonged psychological distress as the individual continues to relive the traumatic experience over and over again. The event may have been a near death experience, serious injury or exposure to sexual violence directly or indirectly.
  2. The individual has continuous intrusive thoughts about the event and becomes paranoid when thinking about the details associated with the event
  3. Some individuals complain of recurrent dreams regarding the particular event resulting in depression and sleeplessness.
  4. They have a rigid inability to experience any positive emotion and dwell far too often on the negativities of life, in general.
  5. Some patients develop dissociative symptoms such as depersonalization and derealisation which involves one feeling out of his/her own physical body or feeling that he/she isn’t living in the reality.
  6. People with PTSD have a rather distorted view of themselves and the environment leading to continuous distress and inability to lead a normal life.


Usually, women are more susceptible to PTSD. However, it is absolutely not necessary for individuals to necessarily develop PTSD after a traumatic event. People with higher level of neuroticism are more vulnerable to this disorder. Substance abuse or over dependence on alcohol or other prohibited drugs may also be important factors.


  1. The treatment for PTSD involves administering antipsychotics and antidepressants. Examples include Fluoxetine, Escitalopram, Paroxetine, Sertraline and Fluvoxamine.
  2. Therapy is also recommended along with the psychotic drugs. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is one such widely used therapy that assists in the treatment of PTSD. The objective of CBT is to change one’s thought patterns that ultimately alter the way he/she feels and behaves. Primarily a conversation based approach; the therapy depends on the need of the patient towards which the therapist usually works to incorporate various therapeutic disciplines to determine the perfect treatment for the client.