PTSD Basics

After a traumatic event — like combat, an assault, or a disaster — it's normal to feel scared, keyed up, or sad at first. But if it's been months or years since the trauma and you're not feeling better, you may have PTSD.

PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing a life-threatening event like combat, a car accident, a natural disaster, or sexual assault.

After this type of event, it’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping — but most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.

If it’s been longer than a few months and the thoughts and feelings from the event are still upsetting you or causing problems in your life, you may have PTSD.  Learn more about PTSD.

Here’s the good news: you can get treatment for PTSD — and it works. If you think you may have PTSD, talk to your doctor or call the VA and ask for a PTSD evaluation.  Find out where you can get help →