Psychological symptoms that develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, a violent crime, an accident, abuse, terrorism or warfare, and that last at least one month may be diagnosed as posttraumatic stress disorder. In combat veterans, PTSD also is called shell shock or battle fatigue.
Diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder is based on the clinical history of the patient and the occurrence of a traumatic event.
This disorder is characterized by frequent, recurring panic attacks - sudden, unexpected feelings of intense fear and discomfort.
Anxiety levels sometimes spin out of control, causing psychological and physical symptoms that interfere with normal function.