What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an emotional illness that can develop as a result of a terribly frightening, life-threatening, or otherwise highly unsafe experience. PTSD sufferers re-experience the traumatic event or Events through visions or dreams, they begin avoiding places, people, or other things that remind them of the event, and often begin to find themselves sensitive to regular life experiences.


Post traumatic stress disorder develops in response to an extreme trauma. Trauma is a terrifying event in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened; because of this the person feels intense fear, helplessness or horror. Post traumatic stress can occur to someone who has felt, seen or heard about a traumatic experience they or someone they know has endured. The Events that can trigger PTSD include:

  • Domestic abuse
  • Violent crime
  • Bullying
  • Rape
  • Car or other major accidents
  • Witnessing violent acts
  • War, genocide
  • Earthquakes, fires or other disasters.


The symptoms of PTSD usually appear within a few months of experiencing the traumatic event. Sometimes, these characteristic may not begin until years later. These symptoms include:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Unwanted thoughts, memories, images or dreams about the event
  • Acting and feeling as if the traumatic event is happening again
  • Extreme vigilance – feeling anxious and watchful all the time and being easily startled
  • Extreme distress when something reminds the person of the event (reminders or “cues” might be thoughts, feelings, situations, people, activities, or things that the person associates with the trauma)
  • Avoiding cues associated with the trauma
  • Emotional numbness and withdrawal; losing interest
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Memory problems and poor concentration
  • Anxiety, irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Sadness, spontaneous crying, a sense of despair and hopelessness

Associated Disorders

PTSD is usually found in conjunction with related disorders such as:

Anxiety is an unpleasant nervous feeling that is typically associated with uneasiness, fear or worry. It is a mood condition that occurs without an identifiable trigger.

Bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder causes serious shifts in an individual’s mood, energy, thinking and behaviour from one extreme and having a sense of euphoria to the other extreme where the lows of depression. Bipolar cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks or months where the moods are so intense that they interfere with the ability to function.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an issue that deals with the way the brain reacts to normal worrying and doubts. A sense of worry often engulfs the individual causing them to be afraid that bad things could possibly happen to them, sometimes they feel that something bad could happen to people they love, or sometimes they feel like they have to get things "just right" and have to check to make sure.

Eating disorders

  • Anorexia is an eating disorder that usually coincides with low body weight, distorted body image and an obsessive fear of gaining weight.
  • Bulimia is an eating disorder that is characterized by consistent binge eating, followed by a compensating behaviour. Most common of these compensating behaviours includes defensive vomiting, fasting, use of laxatives, diuretics and over exercising are also common.

Attention Deficit Hyper activity Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a developmental disorder that involves attention problems and hyperactivity.

Substance abuse
Substance abuse refers to an overindulgence in and dependence of a substance leading to effects that are detrimental to the individual's physical and mental health, or the welfare of others.

Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Think Don’t Shoot is dedicated to connecting youth with their Emotional Intelligence and helping them take control of their futures.

Emotional Intelligence
(EI or EQ) is a person’s ability to be aware of their own emotions as well as the emotions of others while having the ability to be in control. This can be seen as the opposite of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) which can be seen as the conventional form of intelligence.

Think Don't Shoot has translated the theories of Emotional Intelligence into 3 main concepts/approaches:

  • Personal Awareness
    s our ability to be conscious of your reactions and yourselves while being able to monitor and control our own emotions and behaviours.

    Our emotions can sometimes get the best of us. It’s important to know what our emotions are and how to control them when they arise. Having control of our emotions in times when our emotions are at an all time high will separate you from the pack and allow you to become truly successful.
  • Self-Talk
    is a way of positively speaking to yourself. Everybody has a voice inside his or her mind. It can sometimes encourage you and it can sometimes discourage you from doing something. It’s that little voice that can be your own worst critic.

    Its important to take control of how you speak to yourself and remember to always have respect for yourself and motivate yourself in times of distress and frustration. “I know I can…” “I can do this…”
  • Social Awareness
    is our ability to be conscious of other people’s behaviours and emotions while staying in control of your own.

    The emotions of others can sometimes have a negative effect on your own emotions. It’s important to understand the emotions of those around you and find out why they are having these emotions. By understanding your surroundings you will be able to take control of any situation.

The Think Don't Shoot team is dedicated to providing youth with unique and entertaining education on Emotional Intelligence and PTSD. Please make sure to come back and visit frequently as the site will continue to improve.

Support (Mental Health)

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
CMHA is a nation-wide charitable organization that promotes the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness. CMHA is a great resources for anyone looking to find out more information about any mental illness or disorder.

Teen Mental Health
Teen Mental Health.org is a web based organization that is dedicated to improving the mental health of youth by effectively providing information and resources to those in need.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
CAMH is Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by addiction and mental issues.