Factsheet: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) After Burn Injury

Mental and physical reactions are common after a traumatic event, like a burn injury. For some people, reactions may last more than 1 month and lead to PTSD. Reactions that occur sooner are called acute stress disorder. Symptoms of PTSD and acute stress disorder are a common response to a burn injury. Think of it as a way for the brain to let the body know it needs to stay safe—these symptoms can actually protect us. Symptoms can develop after witnessing a traumatic event (e.g., as a bystander or first responder) or by learning of a bad injury involving a loved one. If symptoms of PTSD do not go away, they can cause more problems. PTSD can affect adults and children.

This informative factsheet describes PTSD and its symptoms, who may experience PTSD after a burn injury, and what to do if symptoms occur. Additional resources and references are included.