Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that is typically caused by a severe traumatic experience, or a set of traumatic experiences. The American Psychiatric Association reports that PTSD affects over 3.5 percent of American adults, and that only one out of every 11 adults who suffer from PTSD will be officially diagnosed. The traumatic experiences that might spurn this specific disorder include a personal physical or sexual assault, a major accident, a natural disaster or engaging in active combat. PTSD has been around for quite some time, but it was not until relatively recently that psychiatric professionals understood its true implications. After World War I, PTSD was known as “shell shock” – after World War II, it was known as “combat fatigue.” It was clear that those in the military were coming home after combat changed to some degree. They were dissociative, prone to intense shifts in mood, prone to violent outbursts, prone to drinking excessively. But why? In short, because they were suffering from unresolved trauma. While PTSD is extremely common amongst combat veterans, this disorder can affect anyone who has lived through trauma. Individuals who struggled with this specific psychiatric disorder will experience a wide range of symptoms, including disturbing thoughts and feelings relating to the traumatic experience that last far beyond the experience itself. These thoughts and feelings are often disruptive to their day-to-day lives, and result in interpersonal consequences, problems at work, and a general lack of motivation and direction. It is important to note that while all diagnosable cases of PTSD involve some degree of trauma, the traumatic experience does not necessarily need to have happened to the individual directly. If an individual finds out about the death of a spouse or parent, for example, developing the symptoms associated with PTSD is entirely possible. If you believe that you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, it is essential that you seek professional psychiatric care immediately. Those who do not seek help are liable to develop serious alcohol-related disorders, which will only work to worsen symptoms and make life even more unmanageable.