Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Post-Traumatic Stress Has Different Causes

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Post-Traumatic Stress Has Different Causes

Article excerpt

Dear Doctor K: Last year, a truck ran a red light, totaled my car and nearly totaled me. I spent several weeks in the hospital. Since then my body has healed, but I'm not myself. I'm very irritable, easily angered and sleeping poorly. A friend says I have PTSD, but I thought that occurred to people -- soldiers, for instance -- exposed to repeated threats.

Dear Reader: Your friend is astute. Post-traumatic stress disorder -- PTSD -- is a condition in which distressing symptoms occur after a major trauma. While the media often talk about PTSD in soldiers who have seen active combat, you don't have to be in battle to get PTSD. A single horrible event, like a bad auto accident, can surely do it.

In a previous column about PTSD, I mentioned a patient of mine years ago who was in a terrible auto accident as a young man. The accident, which broke many bones and caused him to be hospitalized for many weeks, occurred at a particular intersection not far from his home -- a drunk driver ran a red light. …

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