Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop in persons who have had very traumatic, disturbing, or frightening experiences, or have witnessed such events, whether in close proximity or even at a distance. PTSD became officially recognized as a mental health condition in 1980 when it was included in the DSM-III. PTSD can rear its ugly head under many different circumstances such as:

  • Natural disasters: hurricanes, tornadoes, deadly blizzards, cyclones, earthquakes, monsoons, deadly storms, deadly heat-waves, tsunamis, wild-fires.
  • Man-made disasters: war, displacement caused by civil war or other social unrest, deadly fires, etc.
  • Acts of terrorism: 9/11, etc.
  • Acts of violence: child abuse, emotional, mental or physical abuse, domestic violence, mayhem, physical or sexual assault, rape, sexual abuse and molestation, rioting and urban violence (such as gang violence).
  • Accidents: airplane crashes; car, rail, boat or ship accidents; elevator accidents; deadly stampedes (e.g., at some soccer games, concerts, or riots).
  • Life threatening illnesses.
  • Captivity: prostitution brothels, long-term domestic violence, organized child exploitation rings; sex slave trade

In commemoration of 9/11, and not by coincidence, this workshop was held on 9/11 and reviewed the basics of PTSD including: its causes; symptoms in survivors (adults and children) whether they were bystanders, first responders, rescue workers (e.g., workers at Ground Zero), treatment providers, and those who were exposed through electronic media; how to evaluate PTSD; and clinical and forensic applications in which PTSD may play a role.