Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a tragic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist attack, war/combat, rape, or other violent personal assault, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Individuals with PTSD experience upsetting symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, depression, agitation, irritability, self-destructive behavior, fear, social isolation, mistrust, insomnia, loneliness, and much more. Media can shape our perspectives on issues such as PTSD, and for those who experience it, having an accurate representation in media means that their voices are heard.

The following are movies that have been known to accurately portray PTSD:


  • Perks of Being a Wallflower. In the movie, Charlie experiences anxiety and symptoms of PTSD after his Aunt Helen dies.  For years Charlie blamed himself for her death, and had several flashbacks throughout the movie, causing him to dissociate. Later in the movie, Charlie has a breakdown and goes to a psychiatric hospital where he uncovers suppressed memories of his aunt sexually abusing him when he was a small boy. By the end of the movie, Charlie can regain more control over his life.
  • Brothers. This movie is about two brothers who lead completely different lives; one is a Marine (Sam), and the other is a drifter (Tommy) who just got out of prison. When Sam is presumed dead in Afghanistan, Tommy makes a vow to comfort Sam’s wife, Grace, and their children. When Tommy and Grace become close, Sam returns unexpectedly. This movie has undertones of PTSD as Sam experiences flashbacks and wonders if he will ever be a “normal” person again.
  • Monster. Based on the true life of Aileen Wuornos, this movie depicts a woman who experienced rape and abuse by a man when she was working as a prostitute; she kills him in self-defense and attempts to move on from prostitution but as plans fall apart, she finds herself back there. She goes on to kill several men thereafter, as she experiences PTSD and attempts to protect herself.


For those who experience PTSD, some movies may be triggering. However, some PTSD movies may be enlightening for some who are unfamiliar with PTSD and want to gain a better understanding of what some may go through. Not all movies portray PTSD accurately, and each person’s experience is different.  




If you struggle with PTSD and are seeking a treatment center to help you develop skills towards overcoming daily obstacles, call us today at 888-316-3665. New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment centers dedicated to supporting you through your journey to recovery. Make the decision to seek help today and regain control back over your life. Call us for a consultation.

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