Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress (abbreviated from the term for its clinical diagnosis, PTSD) describes the severe mental and emotional disturbance that can result from experiencing or even witnessing a traumatic event or series of events, such as sexual assault, warfare, physical or emotional violence, or other threats on one’s life and safety. Symptoms may include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams; sudden onset of mental or physical distress to unrelated stimuli; mood swings; personality alterations; and an increase in the fight-or-flight response. While the symptoms of post-traumatic stress can be severe and debilitating, there have been many breakthroughs in a wide range of effective treatments.

If you or someone you know is in immediate need of support, please seek professional help. If you are in crisis, here are some immediate free resources.

PTSD: What You Need to Know

Post-traumatic stress disorder can happen to a person after experiencing a traumatic event that has caused them to feel fearful, shocked, or helpless. It can have long-term effects, including flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety.

Restoring Joy and Treating PTSD, with Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world's foremost psychiatrists specializing in PTSD, explains the disorder's many effects and symptoms.

How to Reduce the Impact of Childhood Trauma

Children who experience adversity tend to have health problems later in life. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris explains why—and how we can help heal those wounds.

‘It Never Stops Shaping You’: The Legacy of Child Sexual Abuse – And How to Survive It

Child sexual abuse is frighteningly common and hugely damaging. But a new project is collecting survivors’ stories – and revealing what is needed to heal

Launching A Revolution

As California’s first surgeon general, Nadine Burke Harris, MPH ’02, is carrying out the visionary agenda she has brought to medical care: finding the roots of disease in childhood adversity and treating the long-term consequences.

Adoption-Related Trauma and Moral Injury

Even the most loving, caring adoption begins with separation and loss.


The information offered here is not a substitute for professional advice. Please proceed with care and caution.


Trauma Healing