Get the facts

What is mental health?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Get the facts
Dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Does the world feel like a frightening, dangerous place for you?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a particular set of reactions that can develop in people who have been through a traumatic event which threatened their life or safety, or that of others around them. This could be a car or other serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war or torture, or disasters such as bushfires or floods. As a result, the person experiences feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror.

Symptoms to look out for

Some trauma in life is common. In fact, the majority of us will experience a traumatic event at some stage in our lives. People respond to traumatic events in different ways and this depends on their past experiences, personality, levels of support and the nature of the event, so there is no ‘right’ way to respond. Most people affected by trauma make a good recovery and can even experience post-traumatic growth, but some will have longer-term problems.

It’s normal to experience strong emotions and feelings, like those listed below, after a traumatic event, but if you find that your symptoms are not getting better over time or getting worse, this could be a sign that you are experiencing PTSD. These symptoms can include:

  • Emotional numbness and detachment – feeling cut off from what happened, other people and yourself
  • Shock and disbelief
  • Fear of death or injury, being alone, not being able to cope, or the event happening again
  • Helplessness, feeling that you have no control
  • Guilt or shame for not having stopped the event, or for being better off than others, or for not reacting better or coping well enough
  • Sadness for things that have gone or been lost
  • Isolation, feeling that no-one understands or can help
  • Elation, joy at being alive and safe
  • Anger and frustration about the event, or the unfairness of it
  • Re-experiencing the event through dreams, flashbacks or thoughts
  • Changes in relationships

Other common experiences include:

  • Headaches
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • A racing heart
  • Shaking or sweating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Emotional changes, like mood swings, anxiety, or a quick temper
  • Difficulty with school or work
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Problems keeping up with normal daily activities
  • Risk-taking, including increased use of alcohol and other drugs
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of past trauma
  • Being overly alert or watchful.
What can I do to start LIVIN again?

It can be tough asking for help when you’re not feeling good, no doubt about it! The good news is that most people experiencing PTSD can get better with the right help. While some days may be better than others, with the right support you can get back to LIVIN again.


If you or someone you know might be suffering PTSD, there’s a lot of help available. Some options include:

  • The first step is going to see your doctor. General practitioners (GP’s) can give you helpful information about your mental health and arrange the treatment you need.
  • If you think you might act on any thoughts or plans to harm yourself, you can access crisis support 24/7 from Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
  • If you have hurt yourself or need immediate support, call 000.

We also encourage you to check out Start feeling better again! LIVIN tips and tricks to get you back on the right path. 

Tips and Tricks

There are simple things you can do to stay on top of your Mental Health. We have outlined some of our favourites in our LIVINWell Fact Sheet.

Download our LIVINWell Fact Sheet

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