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Part V: Impaired Managers > Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Chapter 25. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

I Can’t Believe This Happened and I Can’t Stop Thinking About It

At some time during our lives, most of us are exposed to an event that poses a threat of severe injury or death (assaults, car accidents, natural or manmade disasters), or a threat to bodily integrity (rape). Exposure to one of these situations often causes a number of very disruptive emotional symptoms that last at least for a brief period. In some people the symptoms last more than a month, and we say that the person has posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After such events, victims are often plagued by memories of the event. They continue to think about it, although they try to block it from their minds. They may have nightmares, feel as if the event is recurring, or be flooded with anxiety whenever reminded of the event. Many victims feel numb and withdraw from people and activities they used to enjoy. Victims also typically become hyper-aroused and are irritable, can’t sleep, are easily startled, and feel continually on edge. After a serious car accident, perhaps one-third of people develop PTSD. Some people develop these symptoms after witnessing or hearing about the traumatic incident of someone close to them.


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