Recently added items

6 Correct Depictions Of PTSD, In accordance To Therapists

Affiliate hyperlink discover: We might obtain compensation by BetterHelp or different distributors if you happen to make a purchase order utilizing the hyperlinks offered on this
web page. Be taught extra.
Final Up to date on December 20, 2021 by Randy Withers, LCMHC

Submit-Traumatic Stress Dysfunction (PTSD) is an interesting however disturbing psychological sickness steadily featured in fictional films like 2009’s The Harm Locker and nonfiction documentaries like HBO’s We Are Not Completed But. It’s additionally a frequent topic explored in TV collection. Generally the dysfunction is recognized by title; typically it’s not.

In case you are studying this text, it’s most likely since you are curious to study extra about PTSD and the way it presents in these affected by it. Maybe you think a cherished one suffers from the dysfunction. Maybe you present among the indicators and signs. 

That will help you in your journey, I interviewed psychological well being professionals to see what they thought have been correct depictions of PTSD in films 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’s not unusual for people who find themselves interested by PTSD to show to in style media to higher perceive their numerous displays. For the document, it’s higher to debate your issues with a educated psychological well being skilled, however in case you are interested by high quality depictions in fiction, hopefully you’ll get some use from this checklist. 

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

6 Correct Depictions of PTSD in Motion pictures and TV, In accordance To Therapists

What Is Submit-Traumatic Stress Dysfunction?

Submit-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 thousands and thousands of abnormal People battle with it, too. Automobile accidents, violence, and sexual assault are only a few the explanation why folks might battle with PTSD.

As psychological problems go, PTSD is disturbingly frequent. Actually, The Nationwide Institute of Psychological Well being estimated that greater than 7.5 million adults in America are identified with PTSD yearly. Because the pandemic’s starting in early 2020, that quantity has virtually actually 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 every psychological sickness, should be precisely identified by and handled with the assistance of a licensed psychological well being skilled. It’s a reasonably sophisticated analysis, however these are some signs generally related to it:

  • Recurrent, intrusive distressing reminiscences of the traumatic occasion
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares concerning the traumatic occasion
  • Extreme emotional misery or bodily reactions to one thing that reminds you of the traumatic occasion
  • Avoiding considering or speaking concerning the traumatic occasion
  • Avoiding locations, actions or folks that remind you of the traumatic occasion
  • Detrimental ideas about your self, different folks or the world
  • Hopelessness
  • Reminiscence issues
  • Issue sustaining relationships
  • Feeling indifferent from household and associates
  • Lack of curiosity in actions 
  • Issue experiencing optimistic feelings
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Being simply startled or frightened
  • At all times being on guard for hazard
  • Self-destructive habits, similar to consuming an excessive amount of
  • Hassle sleeping
  • Hassle concentrating
  • Irritability, indignant outbursts or aggressive habits
  • Guilt or disgrace

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

It’s a critical topic. Personally, I’m not wild about utilizing fictional characters as instructing 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) 

Really helpful by Yena Hu, a Licensed Trauma Restoration Coach specializing in Advanced PTSD and childhood trauma. 


The Queen’s Gambit is a coming-of-age story about an orphaned baby 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. 

RELATED:  13 Important Ideas for Parenting Teenagers, In accordance To A Therapist

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 automobile crash that led to her mom’s dying. 

Even along 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. 

Medical Insights and Observations

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

2. Gray’s Anatomy (Meredith Grey)

Really helpful by Savannah Davis, LCSW, a therapist in Portland, ME who makes a speciality of treating trauma and anxiousness.


Gray’s Anatomy is a medical TV drama during which the present’s docs are commonly put by the wringer with traumatic expertise after traumatic expertise. 

Why It Is An Correct Depiction of PTSD

Within the earlier seasons of the collection, Meredith Gray showcases how advanced trauma can influence folks over the long-term. We find out about Meredith’s developmental trauma, together with inconsistent caregiving, attachment points, and the way in which 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.

Medical Insights and Observations

Whereas it’s not the identical as one remoted traumatic occasion that leads to flashbacks and nightmares, it’s a basic illustration of advanced trauma. 

3. Unbelievable (Netflix)

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


Netflix’s Unbelievable is a mini collection based mostly 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 one of the highly effective representations of PTSD on account of sexual assault ever depicted on display. Whereas the present shouldn’t be particularly about PTSD, the portrayal of the victims precisely and powerfully depicts the various methods PTSD from sexual assault can manifest. The present depicts features of PTSD typically ignored, 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.

Medical Insights and Observations

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

4. The Starvation Video games (Katniss Everdeen)

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


The Starvation Video games is a collection of books and films that depict a fictional post-apocalyptic world.  In retaliation for his or her rebel throughout a civil battle, the winners require the populace to produce teenage girls and boys as tributes to combat to the dying 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 group.

Why It Is An Correct Depiction of PTSD

All of the characters within the story have lived by 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 a different way.  

The primary character’s, Katniss, PTSD signs originate in her childhood, with the violent dying 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 Warfare that ensues.  

RELATED:  A Dentist Reveals How Your Psychological Well being and Oral Well being Are Linked

Medical Insights and Observations

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

The techniques taught to the principle characters within the closing two installments of the collection are grounding strategies which can be efficient in managing among the signs.

5. Poldark (BBC One)

Really helpful 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 Warfare of Independence to search out that the world has moved on with out him. The collection follows Poldark through the years as he will get married, raises his kids, and goes to battle.

Why It Is An Correct Depiction of PTSD 

Poldark’s finest good friend, Dr. Dwight Enys, was held prisoner of battle by the French. Following his rescue, he begins to indicate 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.

Medical 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 indicate the influence on an individual’s relationships, self-identity, and hope for the longer term. It additionally demonstrates how essential help and understanding from associates and household will be when recovering from traumatic life experiences.

6. Iron Man 3 (Tony Stark)

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


Affected 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 in opposition to an enigmatic terrorist referred to as The Mandarin.

Why It Is An Correct Depiction of PTSD

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

Medical 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 checklist. However if you happen to have been interested by which movies and TV exhibits therapists assume do a very good job depicting PTSD, these productions are an awesome place to begin.

Listed below are a couple of extra I’d prefer to advocate:

  • 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 films and TV collection function correct depictions of PTSD? Please depart your ideas as a remark under.

The world’s largest remedy service. 100% on-line.

Faucet into the world’s largest community of licensed, accredited, and skilled therapists who will help you with a spread of points together with melancholy, anxiousness, relationships, trauma, grief, and extra. Be part of BetterHelp at the moment. Save 10% at the moment!


Let me know if you happen to appreciated this submit. Your suggestions is essential!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.