Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

PTSD is a mental health condition. Mental health conditions are problems with the way you think and feel.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder which people develop after being involved in, or witnessing, traumatic events.

What causes PTSD?

PTSD was first recognised in war veterans and was known as ‘shell shock’. Now, it is not only diagnosed in soldiers – it is understood any experience someone may find traumatic can cause PTSD.

This can include:

  • Violent attacks, such as a robbery or a sexual assault
  • Car accidents
  • Childbirth and medical emergencies
  • Severe neglect and abuse.

Around 1 in 3 people who experience something traumatic will develop PTSD, sometimes months or years after the incident.

What are the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder?

Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Reliving a traumatic event, often via vivid flashbacks and nightmares
  • Panicking when reminded of or remembering the trauma
  • Feeling ‘on edge’ and alert
  • Avoiding feelings and memories of the incident, or feeling numb
  • Insomnia
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt

Are you affected by PTSD?

If you’re affected by PTSD, The Brain Charity can support you.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with PTSD, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy and social activities to people with PTSD from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Woman smiling, making eye contact and holding the hand of another woman to comfort her

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0151 298 2999

Looking to talk to someone?

  • Please tell us which neurological condition you are affected by and what you need support with.

Caring for someone with post-traumatic stress disorder

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with PTSD? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including post-traumatic stress disorder, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The library at the Brain Charity has a range of resources on PTSD and on a wide range of mental health-related topics

Visit the library to read our copy of the NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidelines: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): the treatment of PTSD in adults and children in adults and children or click here to search the online catalogue.

Support groups

Other charities



Helpline: 01282 787 172

Anxiety UK


Helpline: 08444 775 774

PTSD Resolution: charity for UK Forces veterans


Helpline: 0300 302 0551

Mind: the mental health charity


Helpline: 0300 123 3393

Combat Stress: UK veterans' mental health charity


Helpline: 0800 138 1619

The Samaritans


Helpline: 116 123