Experiencing a severe trauma causes most people significant distress. A natural response to such experiences is to feel intense emotional responses, relive the event in thoughts or dreams, and avoid situations that may evoke memories of the event. These responses are often referred to as post-traumatic stress (PTS). For many people, these responses diminish with time, but for others they may continue causing problems with daily life and develop into a chronic psychological condition called posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This booklet provides essential background information to help with understanding the causes and signs of PTS and PTSD, gives suggestions for steps to take to help manage these symptoms, and information and resources for how and when to get help from a health care professional.