House Wiki

Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as "PTSD", is a mental illness caused by severe physical or mental trauma that is typical of military service in a war zone, continued sexual abuse, or severe physical injury typical of natural disasters or structural collapse. Before it was identified as a mental disorder, it often went by the name of battle fatigue or shell shock.

While most PTSD is caused by either a single traumatic event, such as a school shooting, or a short series of events, like a combat tour, Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is caused by years after years of traumatic injuries (for example: school bullying).

PTSD sufferers have increased awareness, often causing them to lose emotional control in any stressful situation, and to be over-vigilant at almost all times. They almost always have difficulty sleeping due to dreams that cause them to relive their traumatic experiences.

Treatment is difficult and often unsuccessful. Psychotherapy, though it gives relief in many cases, often results in the patient dwelling more over the experience, increasing their anxiety. Moreover, anti-anxiety medications, although they lessen the symptoms, have adverse side effects and do nothing for the underlying condition. Most patients have extreme difficulty dealing with normal social situations and often find themselves either homeless, isolated, or institutionalized. Not to mention most patients end up having mood swings, having severe depression, and feeling suicidal.

In Skin Deep, House believed the patient was suffering from PTSD from being sexually abused by her father. Although he was correct about the sexual abuse, he was not correct about the diagnosis.


The following conditions commonly coexist with PTSD: