Do you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD for short, is more common than we often realize. We can know about it through the media among the former soldiers in the war zones, they sometimes appear on television with their story. In principle, PTSD can occur in anyone who has experienced something serious.

What is it?

If you as a person have experienced something intense, you can already suffer from a post-traumatic stress disorder (an estimated 300,000 people experience it every year, with significantly more women suffering from it, approximately 1:3). This can vary from the aforementioned war situation to a serious accident or, for example, you have become the victim of a violent crime. You normally have to process the intense fact that has happened, but if you are unable to do this and it replays over and over again in your head, you may have a post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s an anxiety disorder.

Reliving it again and again is intense and there is a good chance that you will avoid certain situations that remind you of it. Other people try to avoid the images in other ways, such as alcohol or drug use. So you don’t do anything more than just a momentary anesthetic and it is therefore not a solution

How does it arise?

Not everyone who experiences something intense will suffer from it. There is a hereditary factor that can play a role in whether you get it or not. In addition to the hereditary factor, the risk is greater if you have been depressed before. But also if you have previously suffered from a psychiatric illness.
Education and how you deal with certain matters also play a role. How you deal with stress, anxiety, sadness, etc. is partly within you as a human being, but is also partly learned.

How do you recognize it?

It is a form of reliving, often in the form of nightmares or flashbacks, and the fear wraps around your neck. Some people experience it almost literally that way. The chance of a good night’s sleep decreases and you become irritable. Irritations for nothing and you get scared relatively quickly (for no reason). We only talk about PTSD if you have been suffering from it for at least a month straight.


If you suspect that you are suffering from it, it is useful to consult your doctor. He or she will probably refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Medicines can help, but this is not always the case. The psychiatrist can see to what extent it makes sense in a particular situation.
Furthermore, EMDR, which has not been scientifically proven, can also help if you have PTSD. There are special therapists for this.

PTSD can be cured or made minimally viable and occasionally it can also heal spontaneously, but this is more the exception than the rule.

What can you do yourself?

As with so many things, you can do something yourself and that is actually recording what you feel when it bothers you again. Think of:

  • Describe the situation as it comes back to mind. The moment of fear, but also the nightmares or flashbacks you may have.
  • Start with what the trigger is, what is the moment the PTSD “revealed”. Is it the same every time or not.
  • Record how you feel, what happens in your body and mind when fear takes over.

This way you get a clear picture and you can use this picture to trigger yourself to do something different when it reveals itself. You can also use this information with a therapist. If you recognize it, you are already taking the first step. But you can link it to going out at such a time and going for a walk, you call a specific person, etc. etc. So it’s a distraction.


There are relatively many people who quickly think they are being considered crazy when they develop psychological complaints. However, it is advisable to take action and keep track of everything yourself and consult your doctor if necessary. There is something you can do about it, so you don’t have to keep walking around with post-traumatic stress disorder.