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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, also known as war-shock or shellshock, 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 but for a person suffering from PTSD this reaction is damaged, leading to re-experiencing symptoms of the traumatic event. The re-experience is usually filled with fear and anger and can be triggered by external input or by events 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. Below is a list of common PTSD signs and symptoms:
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 will act as though the traumatic event is occurring again and feel intensified stress linked to it. You may physically respond to the flashback with sweating and heart palpitations. Flashback can occur both when awake and asleep as nightmares.
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 can get unmotivated tantrums, 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. Sometimes the person does not remember anything before, during or after the trauma. Sometimes sufferers find it difficult to remember critical parts of the traumatic event.
The 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.