Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome happens when a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event such as an accident, a death, a physical or sexual assault, war, famine, etc., that causes terror, fear, or feelings of helplessness and loss of control. These feelings interfere with the normal every day life of the person and can last months, years, or entire lifetimes.
How does this fit in with abuse? Abuse is a traumatic event, whether experienced as a victim or as an observer. Incidences of abuse can cause post traumatic stress syndrome in which the person feels anger, nervousness, helplessness, anxiety and other feelings that can recur, keeping them from living a normal, productive life. The person will often relive the events surrounding the trauma. They just cannot get past it.
Treatment can include medication or counseling, and often includes both components in an effort to relieve the person of the physical and emotional symptoms to get back to their normal life.
From my research, it appears that the PTSD caused by physical, emotional, or sexual abuse (or witnessing it) is the most difficult to treat. The events that caused the PTSD were in most cases, ongoing, long-lasting, and very damaging.
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