Each week, 9NEWS Medical Expert Dr. Comilla Sasson takes a look at medical myths that you might believe … and whether they’re true.

MYTH: PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) only affects combat veterans. FICTION

What is PTSD?

PTSD can occur after a stressful or traumatic situation. It is normal to react to a stressful situation, but if this reaction continues after four weeks, starts to disrupt your life, or causes you emotional distress, you may have PTSD.

Any event can trigger PTSD, including child/sexual abuse, combat, natural disasters or traumatic events like a car accident.

Healthcare workers, first responders, journalists and others who work on the front lines may experience these situations.

Who does it affect?

PTSD can affect anyone. Some people react immediately to a situation, while others may take months or years to realize that the traumatic event is now affecting daily life.

What are the signs and symptoms of PTSD?

- Reliving the event through nightmares, flashbacks, or triggers which may back difficult memories.

- Avoiding situations, places or people who may make you remember the event(s).

-Feeling anxious, nervous or uncomfortable in certain situations.

-Not being able to sleep

-Losing interest in activities, relationships and other things that bring you happiness.

What can happen if people don't get help?

Untreated, PTSD can affect every part of your life. People can lose trust in others, become depressed, abuse substances like alcohol and drugs to help "forget," lose their jobs, not leave their homes, or become isolated, angry and depressed. Everyone manifests their feelings in different ways.

How can you help others who may be suffering from PTSD?

Seek help immediately. If you have a family member or friend who is displaying these signs and symptoms, reach out and offer help. Treatment can include counseling, inpatient intensive treatment, medications and other therapies. Again, it is important to remember PTSD can sometimes happen months or years after the event.

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