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:
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.
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.
If you are feeling suicidal
If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in immediate crisis, please contact your national emergency number or go to Befrienders Worldwide that offers crisis resources worldwide.