Trauma can be experienced directly or witnessed. It can also be experienced indirectly through hearing about a close friend or relative who has experienced the event directly. PTSD can result when individuals experience repeated or extreme indirect exposure to traumatic experiences. Common victims include soldiers, police officers, firefighters, Emergency Medical Service providers, and emergency room staff.
Most professionals with experience in treating PTSD recognize that people can experience PTSD-like reactions even though the events experienced do not technically meet criteria for a traumatic event as described above. People can experience PTSD-like reactions following such events as divorce, the loss of a loved one, infidelity, media exposure to traumatic events, and emotional abuse.