Not getting over it: Post-traumatic stress disorder

For some people, merely recalling a traumatic event feels just like going through it all over again. Psychotherapy and some other strategies can help.

At some time in life, at least half of us will live through a terrifying event in which we experience, are threatened by, or witness grave physical harm. The stress of a life-threatening trauma takes time to ease, whether it arises from a car accident, assault, rape, terrorist attack, combat, or a natural disaster, such as the Asian tsunami and its aftermath.

Most people recover with the support of family and friends, but some develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that may last a lifetime if appropriate help is not available.

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