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6 Correct Depictions Of PTSD, In accordance To Therapists

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Final Up to date on December 20, 2021 by Randy Withers, LCMHC

Put up-Traumatic Stress Dysfunction (PTSD) is an enchanting however disturbing psychological sickness continuously featured in fictional motion pictures like 2009’s The Damage Locker and nonfiction documentaries like HBO’s We Are Not Executed But. It’s additionally a frequent topic explored in TV sequence. Generally the dysfunction is recognized by title; generally it’s not.

If you’re studying this text, it’s in all probability since you are curious to study extra about PTSD and the way it presents in these affected by it. Maybe you watched a liked one suffers from the dysfunction. Maybe you present a number of the indicators and signs. 

That will help you in your journey, I interviewed psychological well being professionals to see what they thought had been correct depictions of PTSD in motion pictures and TV. Every clinician has labored extensively with trauma survivors, so they’re in a wonderful place to touch upon the matter.

I needed to compile an inventory of correct depictions of PTSD for you, as a result of it isn’t unusual for people who find themselves inquisitive about PTSD to show to fashionable media to higher perceive their numerous shows. For the document, it’s higher to debate your considerations with a educated psychological well being skilled, however if you’re inquisitive about high quality depictions in fiction, hopefully you’ll get some use from this listing. 

Earlier than we get into the movie and TV suggestions, let me briefly clarify what PTSD is.

6 Accurate Depictions of PTSD in Movies and TV, According To Therapists
6 Correct Depictions of PTSD in Films and TV, In accordance To Therapists

What Is Put up-Traumatic Stress Dysfunction?

Put up-Traumatic Stress Dysfunction (PTSD) is a psychological sickness that develops as a response to a life-threatening scenario or occasion. It’s generally related to fight veterans, however tens of millions of unusual People battle with it, too. Automotive accidents, violence, and sexual assault are just some explanation why individuals could battle with PTSD.

As psychological problems go, PTSD is disturbingly frequent. In actual fact, The Nationwide Institute of Psychological Well being estimated that greater than 7.5 million adults in America are recognized with PTSD yearly. Because the pandemic’s starting in early 2020, that quantity has nearly definitely risen, particularly in sufferers who contracted the illness. This research signifies 20% of sufferers handled for Coronavirus confirmed indicators of post-traumatic stress.

What Are The Signs of PTSD?

PTSD, like all psychological sickness, should be precisely recognized by and handled with the assistance of a licensed psychological well being skilled. It’s a reasonably sophisticated prognosis, however these are some signs generally related to it:

  • Recurrent, intrusive distressing reminiscences of the traumatic occasion
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares in regards to the traumatic occasion
  • Extreme emotional misery or bodily reactions to one thing that reminds you of the traumatic occasion
  • Avoiding pondering or speaking in regards to the traumatic occasion
  • Avoiding locations, actions or those that remind you of the traumatic occasion
  • Unfavorable ideas about your self, different individuals or the world
  • Hopelessness
  • Reminiscence issues
  • Issue sustaining relationships
  • Feeling indifferent from household and associates
  • Lack of curiosity in actions 
  • Issue experiencing constructive feelings
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Being simply startled or frightened
  • At all times being on guard for hazard
  • Self-destructive conduct, comparable to ingesting an excessive amount of
  • Bother sleeping
  • Bother concentrating
  • Irritability, offended outbursts or aggressive conduct
  • Guilt or disgrace

Tragically, those that endure from PTSD typically take care of a bunch of different critical points, from substance abuse to relationship difficulties to co-morbid psychological sickness comparable to main depressive dysfunction.

It’s a critical topic. Personally, I’m not wild about utilizing fictional characters as educating instruments, however the therapists I interviewed swear by these movies, so right here goes:  

6 Correct Depictions of PTSD, In accordance To Therapists

1. The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) 

Advisable by Yena Hu, a Licensed Trauma Restoration Coach specializing in Complicated PTSD and childhood trauma. 


The Queen’s Gambit is a coming-of-age story about an orphaned little one named Beth Harmon who experiences a devastating lack of her mother and father, then later turns into a chess prodigy and world champion whereas combating drug and alcohol dependancy. 

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Why It Is An Correct Depiction of PTSD

The Queen’s Gambit precisely depicts PTSD and its connection to childhood trauma and dependancy. Within the present, we repeatedly see Beth experiencing flashbacks of her mother and father arguing and the automotive crash that led to her mom’s loss of life. 

Even together with her worldwide success as a chess prodigy, we witness Beth combating drug and alcohol abuse from an early age, as trauma survivors typically use substances to control their dysregulated nervous system. 

Scientific Insights and Observations

Intrusive reminiscences (typically within the type of flashbacks) and avoidance – by means of substance use to numb and escape emotional ache – are frequent signs of PTSD. 

2. Gray’s Anatomy (Meredith Grey)

Advisable by Savannah Davis, LCSW, a therapist in Portland, ME who focuses on treating trauma and anxiousness.


Gray’s Anatomy is a medical TV drama by which the present’s medical doctors are recurrently put by means of the wringer with traumatic expertise after traumatic expertise. 

Why It Is An Correct Depiction of PTSD

Within the earlier seasons of the sequence, Meredith Gray showcases how complicated trauma can influence individuals over the long-term. We study Meredith’s developmental trauma, together with inconsistent caregiving, attachment points, and the best way parental psychological well being points affected her. 

The influence of the trauma is mirrored in Meredith’s unstable sense of self and low self-worth, her difficulties sustaining long-term relationships, her avoidant attachment model, and her distrust of others.

Scientific Insights and Observations

Whereas it’s not the identical as one remoted traumatic occasion that ends in flashbacks and nightmares, it’s a basic illustration of complicated trauma. 

3. Unbelievable (Netflix)

Advisable by Dr. Jenna DiLossi, a Licensed Psychologist who specializes within the therapy of PTSD.


Netflix’s Unbelievable is a mini sequence primarily based on a real story of a serial rapist and the investigation to seize the perpetrator

Why It Is An Correct Depiction of PTSD

Unbelievable has some of the highly effective representations of PTSD on account of sexual assault ever depicted on display screen. Whereas the present just isn’t particularly about PTSD, the portrayal of the victims precisely and powerfully depicts the numerous methods PTSD from sexual assault can manifest. The present depicts points of PTSD typically neglected, i.e. reckless behaviors, substance use, social isolation, promiscuity and threat taking behaviors. These are all frequent manifestations of PTSD from sexual abuse, however are sometimes misunderstood or not recognized.

Scientific Insights and Observations

For PTSD from sexual assault, individuals don’t understand the breadth of behaviors that may be from response to trauma, and generally, these responses are even used to discredit victims in traumatic methods. Unbelievable highlights the methods PTSD reveals up and acts as a numbing agent in a method that I’ve but to see in different media in fashionable tradition.

4. The Starvation Video games (Katniss Everdeen)

Advisable by Cheri Timko, LPC, a Relationship Coach and Licensed Skilled Counselor.


The Starvation Video games is a sequence of books and flicks that depict a fictional post-apocalyptic world.  In retaliation for his or her insurrection throughout a civil warfare, the winners require the populace to provide teenage girls and boys as tributes to struggle to the loss of life yearly in a televised competitors.  Whoever wins the Starvation Video games is showered with winnings and is ready to quickly enhance the lives of their neighborhood.

Why It Is An Correct Depiction of PTSD

All of the characters within the story have lived by means of extended and intense trauma each earlier than the story begins and all through the narrative.  Viewers get all kinds of the methods PTSD can have an effect on people in another way.  

The principle character’s, Katniss, PTSD signs originate in her childhood, with the violent loss of life of her father and the deprivation of close to hunger.  She then experiences the repeated traumas related to the Starvation Video games and the Civil Battle that ensues.  

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Scientific Insights and Observations

Katniss turns into extra traumatized all through the sequence, and her signs escalate with the continued trauma she lives by means of.  She clearly demonstrates signs of nightmares, hypervigilance, agitation, avoidance of conditions and folks, anxiousness, despair, hostility, self-destructive behaviors, emotional detachment.

The ways taught to the principle characters within the closing two installments of the sequence are grounding strategies which can be efficient in managing a number of the signs.

5. Poldark (BBC One)

Advisable by Dr. Allison Gilson, Ph.D., a medical psychologist who specializes within the therapy of trauma and dissociation.


Ross Poldark is a Redcoat soldier who returns after three years away preventing within the American Battle of Independence to search out that the world has moved on with out him. The sequence follows Poldark through the years as he will get married, raises his kids, and goes to warfare.

Why It Is An Correct Depiction of PTSD 

Poldark’s finest buddy, Dr. Dwight Enys, was held prisoner of warfare by the French. Following his rescue, he begins to point out signs of PTSD, experiencing flashbacks, jumpiness, and survivor’s guilt. The present additionally portrays how he improves after he talks to his associates and his spouse about his experiences and struggles.

Scientific Insights and Observations

Whereas PTSD or trauma was not acknowledged within the 1700s, its signs have been mentioned way back to historical Greece, as described by Socrates and Aristotle. This present goes past essentially the most generally mentioned signs to point out the influence on an individual’s relationships, self-identity, and hope for the long run. It additionally demonstrates how necessary assist and understanding from associates and household may be when recovering from traumatic life experiences.

6. Iron Man 3 (Tony Stark)

Advisable by Randy Withers, LCMHC, a licensed therapist in North Carolina, and the Managing Editor of Blunt Remedy, a weblog about psychological well being.


Tormented by anxiousness, panic assaults, and insomnia after saving the world, billionaire hero Tony Stark should don his Iron Man go well with but once more to sq. off towards an enigmatic terrorist referred to as The Mandarin.

Why It Is An Correct Depiction of PTSD

Tony Stark reveals most of the basic signs of PTSD. These embody anxiousness, depressed temper, hypervigilance, flashbacks, and avoidance. Extra importantly, Iron Man 3 reveals how nobody, not even a genius billionaire playboy, is immune from the consequences of trauma.

Scientific Insights and Observations

Tragically, there are emotional, bodily, and relationship penalties to trauma. Iron Man 3 reminds us all that even a classy go well with of armor can’t shield us from the horrors of violence, loss, and remorse. 

Iron Man 3- Posttraumatic Stress Dysfunction (PTSD). Courtesy, YouTube.

Different Correct Depictions of PTSD in Movie

This isn’t an exhaustive listing. However in case you had been inquisitive about which movies and TV reveals therapists suppose do a very good job depicting PTSD, these productions are an important place to begin.

Listed below are a number of extra I’d prefer to suggest:

  • First Blood (1982)
  • American Sniper (2014)
  • The Deer Hunter (1978)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
  • Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
  • The Fisher King (1991)
  • Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
  • Saving Non-public Ryan (1998)
  • Mystic River (2003)

What different motion pictures and TV sequence function correct depictions of PTSD? Please depart your ideas as a remark beneath.

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