What is PTSD?

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that causes “significant distress or impairment in social, occupation, or other important areas of functioning” such as educational achievement (American Psychiatric Association). 

It results from helplessness and fear associated with “death or threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violation”.

There is an association between repeated exposure to traumatic events and the development of PTSD. 

It is estimated that 35% of the veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will develop PTSD.

What are some of the symptoms?

Re-experiencing: Bad memories of a traumatic event can come back at any time. You may feel the same terror and horror you did when the event took place. Sometimes there’s a trigger: a sound, sight, or smell that causes you to relive the event.

Avoidance and Numbing: People with PTSD often go to great lengths to avoid things that might remind them of the traumatic event they endured. They also may shut themselves off emotionally in order to protect themselves from feeling pain and fear.

Hypervigilance or Increased Arousal: Those suffering from PTSD may operate on “high-alert” at all times, often have very short fuses, and startle easily.

What are some of the warning signs?

  • Relationship troubles: frequent and intense conflicts, poor communication, inability to meet responsibilities
  • Work, school, or other community functioning: frequent absences, conflicts, inability to meet deadlines or concentrate;  poor performance
  • Thoughts of hurting someone or yourself

For veterans, suicidal thoughts and behaviors are associated with PTSD.  If you are a veteran experiencing suicidal thoughts, get help and call: Suicide Prevention at 800.273.8255.

What can I do?

  • Talk to your family and your friends about your symptoms and your experiences.  Feeling a sense of support from your community is one of the most effective ways of reducing the impact of PTSD.
  • PTSD is a treatable condition.  Confront the stigma attached to mental health care and obtain a professional assessment. 
  • Educate yourself, your family and your friends about PTSD.
  • Take the confidential on-line screening at (keyword: UWBOTHELL)

Make an appointment with UW Bothell Student Mental Health Counseling Services at: 425.352.3183.


For veterans:

Seattle Vet Center 206.553.0380

VA Puget Sound Health Care System 800.329.8387

Suicide Prevention, Department of Veterans Affairs 800.273.8255

Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs PTSD Counseling Program  800.562.2308

For other trauma survivors:

Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress 206.744.1600





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