Skip to content


Visit our Crisis Assistance Link for resources. For immediate help, get to the ER.

*No Dr Outside Contact Please*
Includes Expert Content
weird question for Dr. G
jselleck posted:
Dr Goldberg, I'm a journalist by training and both my high school teacher and college professors said I had a real gift for the written word. Anyhow, to keep myself entertained as well as give myself something to do, I started to write what I hope will become a published novel. Only problem is I need to expand it a little, because right now it's about a third of the length it needs to be to considered for publication. My protagonist gets really bad nightmares which are a result of hearing her mother being beaten by the villain when she was 12. Would it be believable to turn the nightmares into a symptom of PTSD? Or can you suggest something else that might work in this situation? I want to keep my story real, so any advice would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Jessica Selleck
Joseph F Goldberg, MD responded:
Dear Jessica,

Not everyone who endures traumatic experiences develops PTSD as a psychiatric disorder. (Researchers still ponder what factors may be protective against developing PTSD among individuals who endure trauma...why some people seem to be more resilient than others.) If you wanted to give a portrayal of PTSD it would mean the individual themelf experienced some direct trauma in which their own safety and integrity was threatened, leading to a constellation of symptoms such as re-experiencing the trauma, avoiding situations that remind the individual of the trauma, and hyperarousal symptoms (e.g., startle). So, I would say that if you do elect to give a portrayal of PTSD, read more about it so that it isn't a misinformed depiction.

Good luck with your project.

Dr. G.
jselleck replied to Joseph F Goldberg, MD's response:
Thanks for the input Dr. G. In what little research I've been able to complete (techinical issues) I've learned that this is just too big a subject for me to tackle and portray accurately. I've decided that since my main chacter already suffers from nightmares linked to seeing her mother severely beaten when she was 12, that I'll just have her see a therapist to deal with them. Especially since she's mainly a perky happy most of the time gal. Thanks for the encouragement. Hope your week end is going good.


Featuring Experts

Joseph F. Goldberg, MD, is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. He also maintains a private prac...More

Helpful Tips

NSAIDS and lithiumExpert
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, Motrin/ibuprofen, Advil, Naprosyn) raise lithium levels by about 20%. We often therefore say ... More
Was this Helpful?
73 of 97 found this helpful

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.