Basics Stress - PTSD: National Center for PTSD
Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

PTSD: National Center for PTSD

Menu
Menu

Quick Links

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge
 

Basics Stress

 
Share this page

Clergy Toolkit

 

Traumatic Stress Basics

Most people will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime. This section includes basic information about the types of reactions people have following trauma.

How Do People React After a Traumatic Event?

Being exposed to stressful and traumatic events is common for Service members, including risk of serious injury or death from enemy fire, accidents in both training and combat settings, sexual assault, death of fellow unit members, and exposure to disease, infection, toxins, and chemical, biological, or nuclear materials. PTSD most commonly occurs after direct exposure to a traumatic event, but can also occur by being a witness to traumatic events, learning of the accidental or violent death of a close relative or friend, or through repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of traumatic events, usually in the course of professional duties.

It is normal after a traumatic event to have acute, or short-term, stress reactions. Following traumatic events, one might experience a variety of emotional reactions such as fear, anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, or anger. Some might also notice behavioral changes such as an increase in substance use, a decrease in self-care, and avoidance of things that remind them of the traumatic event(s) (e.g., people and places). If these symptoms do not improve within 30 days, it could be PTSD.

Get help for PTSD

If you need help right away:

FacebookTwitterYouTube

PTSD Information Voice Mail:
(802) 296-6300
ncptsd@va.gov
Also see: VA Mental Health

Site Map