Anyone can experience a major traumatic event; some are more likely to than others but most of us will suffer trauma at some time in our lives. Most traumatic experiences are processed through a normal response, with or without distress but without the development of mental disorder. Traumatic memories characteristic of post-traumatic stress disorder are unbidden, intrusive, vivid, distressing and accompanied by avoidance of them and their triggers. They are often amenable to treatment; trauma-focused psychological therapies are the treatments of choice. Some medications and non-trauma-focused psychological therapies can reduce the intensity of traumatic memories and their impact on functioning.