Category: PTSD Online Therapy | Last updated: October 8th, 2018 | Reviewed and approved by:

Signs and symptoms of PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that you can get after experiencing an exceptionally threatening and distressing event in your life. PTSD, originally known as shell shock, was once thought to be a condition only caused by war.

Today, we know that this disorder can also be a direct result of traumatizing events like:

Sexual abuse
Natural disaster
Difficult birth
Difficult experience during health care
War events

When in danger, our inborn and natural fight-or-flight response is a healthy reaction that protects us. However, for a person suffering from PTSD, this reaction is overwhelmed, leading to re-experiencing symptoms of the traumatic event. The re-experience is usually filled with fear and can be triggered by internal or external cues reminiscent of the trauma.

Symptoms of PTSD usually occur within a few weeks of the traumatic event, but sometimes it can take months and even years for them to appear. A list of common PTSD signs and symptoms is presented below:

Experiencing flashbacks: When suffering from PTSD, it is common to experience flashbacks. Flashbacks occur when a memory is triggered and you go back to the time and place of the traumatic event, reliving it in detail. When flashbacks occur, you may act as though the traumatic event is occurring again and feel intensified stress linked to it. You may physically respond to the flashback with symptoms such as sweating and heart palpitations. You may also experience recurrent distressing dreams of the trauma.

Avoiding situations and people: When suffering from PTSD, it is common to avoid thoughts, conversations or feelings that remind you of those traumatic memories. You might also make every effort to avoid people or places that remind you of it. A person suffering from PTSD may also lose interest in what is important to them. Previously enjoyable activities become unimportant, and sufferers often feel distant from others and unable to express positive feelings like love or happiness.

Increased psychological sensitivity: When suffering from PTSD, it is common to experience an increased psychological sensitivity. The excessive vigilance can make you unusually easily irritated and provoke outbursts of anger. You may have angry outbursts with little provocation, difficulty concentrating and problems sleeping. It is also common that you are easy to startle and will often jump at loud sounds.

Suffering from memory loss: When suffering from PTSD it is common to experience memory loss related to aspects of the trauma. Sometimes the person does not remember anything before, during or after the trauma. Sufferers sometimes find it difficult to remember critical parts of the traumatic event.

Further reading: Overcome your ptsd with online therapy.

If you suffer from any of the symptoms described above, we recommend that you take this test. Evaluate the statements and select the option that you feel best reflects the way you have felt for the past two weeks. The test is, of course, anonymous and free (see our privacy policy).

This PTSD test is not to be seen as a final diagnosis. If you are uncertain about your result, we suggest that you get professional help as soon as possible.

Partly true
Not true
1. I have experienced a traumatic event in my life, such as an accident, bad health care experience, robbery, sexual abuse etc. that involved intense fear or helplessness.
2. I often experience flashbacks that make me relive the memories of the traumatic event.
3. I often have nightmares or thoughts in regards to frightening, horrible or upsetting things.
4. I feel constantly on my guard and am easily startled by noise.
5. I avoid people, things and places that remind me of the traumatic event.
6. I feel detached from others, my surroundings or activities.
7. I frequently have sleepless nights or insomnia.
8. I experience extreme reactions to images or sounds that remind me of the traumatic event.
9. I feel much more on edge and irritable compared to before the traumatic event.
10. I have experienced memory loss about all or part of the traumatic event.
11. I often feel emotionally numb after being triggered back to the traumatic event.
12. I do not appreciate activities that I once really enjoyed.
13. My symptoms have lasted for more than one month.
14. My symptoms have caused me significant disturbance and distress in my life.
Generating result...