Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Library

The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Library provides reliable and quality assessed information. This information comes from peer-reviewed systematic reviews covering over 200 topics on post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. These topics include signs and symptoms, treatments, diagnosis, causes, outcomes, co-occurring mental and physical disorders, incidence and prevalence, the physical features of the disorder, and insights for families. Topics can be accessed by clicking on the links above. Or use the drop-down menu or search bar on the left or click on the tabs below.

There are two levels of information on each topic. The first is a Factsheet that provides general information describing the topic and the evidence that is available on that topic. The second is a Technical Commentary that provides more detailed information, including the topic’s background, methods, detailed results, and links to references. Printable PDFs of factsheets and technical tables are available to download from each topic page.

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Diagnosis and assessment

A person needs to have been exposed to at least one trauma to receive a PTSD diagnosis. Common traumas include being exposed to  illnesses, accidents, wars, pandemics, disasters, and violence. The severity of the trauma and its frequency influences the risk of developing PTSD. Whether the trauma is directly or indirectly experienced, such as being a victim of violence or witnessing violence, whether it was committed intentionally or unintentionally, and whether it was interpersonal also influences the risk.  Other influencing factors include age, sex, personality traits, social factors, and cognitive and psychological factors. Core symptoms of intrusion, avoidance, hyperarousal, and negative thoughts and mood need to be present for a PTSD diagnosis. Dissociation, anxiety, anger, depression, and distress may also be present. Click on the tabs below to access the information, or navigate through the topics via the section on the left. Image: ©ileezhun -

Signs and symptoms

This category provides information about the signs and symptoms of PTSD. Common PTSD symptoms include unwanted and upsetting memories, nightmares, flashbacks,  emotional distress and physical reactivity after exposure to reminders, which leads to avoidance of these reminders. There may also be symptoms of poor sleep, negative thoughts and mood, depression, anxiety, dissociation, and anger. There may also be problems with cognition, including poor general cognition, memory, attention, executive functioning, social cognition, and difficulty processing new information. Click on the links or the tabs below to access the information, or browse via the drop-down menu to the left. There is also a search bar at the top of the left-hand panel. Image: ©Leremy -



Psychotherapies are considered first-line treatments for PTSD. These include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), exposure and cognitive therapies, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR). These are sometimes combined with pharmacological treatments, including antidepressants, which may be administered without accompanying therapies. This category covers both pharmacological and psychological treatments, as well as non-pharmaceutical physical treatments such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Click on the tabs below to access all the evidence, or navigate through the topics via the drop-down menu on the left. Image: ©freshidea -

Risk factors

Exposure to trauma is required for a diagnosis of PTSD. Traumas include illness, accidents, war and terrorism, pandemics, disasters, and violence and abuse, among others. Risk of PTSD can be influenced by trauma characteristics such as trauma severity and frequency, whether the trauma is experienced directly or indirectly, whether it was intentional or non-intentional, and whether it was interpersonal. Personal characteristics can also determine who will develop PTSD following exposure to trauma. These include certain personality traits, social factors, and cognitive and psychological factors including resilience. To access the evidence on trauma and personal characteristics associated with risk for PTSD, click on the tabs below or navigate through the topics via the drop-down menu on the left. Image: ©Orlando Florin Rosu -

Illness course and outcomes

The course and outcomes of PTSD vary widely between individuals. This category considers the outcomes that affect day to day life, including forgiveness, post-traumatic growth, relapse, remission, self-harm, and employment. Click on the tabs below to access all the information, or browse the drop-down menu to the left. Image: ©Pavel Timofeev –

Insights for families

Families of people with PTSD may also be affected by the disorder. This category provides information on factors that impact on the family unit. Click on the link or the tab below to access the information. Image: ©

Physical features

People with PTSD can have physical alterations to their central nervous system. In this category these alterations have been organised into functional and structural changes. Click on the tabs below to access this information, or browse via the drop-down menu on the left. Image: ©

Co-occurring conditions

People with PTSD may also have co-occurring "comorbid" mental and/or physical disorders. Common comorbid conditions include depression, substance use disorders, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, and metabolic syndrome. Click on the tabs below to access the information, or browse via the drop-down menu on the left. Image: ©Maksym Dykha - Fotolia -

Prevalence and incidence

Incidence and prevalence

A population perspective provides epidemiological estimations of the prevalence and incidence of PTSD in different populations and regions worldwide. Click on the tabs below to access the information, or browse the topics via the section on the left. You can also search for a topic using the search icon on the left. Image: ©tai111 - Fotolia -

General information

This section includes general information on privacy and security of the NeuRA Evidence Libraries. Image: ©connel_design -

NeuRA Libraries

Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.