What Are The Three Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder or more popularly known as PTSD is a mental health problem that’s prompted by witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event. Its symptoms may consist of severe anxiety, nightmares and flashbacks, as well as unstoppable thoughts about the event.
The majority of the people who experience traumatic situations may have temporary difficulty coping and adjusting, they normally get better with good self-care and time. In case your symptoms are not improving but getting worse even after months or years and interfere in your routine life, you may have PTSD.
After you experience PTSD symptoms getting effective treatment can be critical to improve function and reduce symptoms.
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may begin under one month after a terrifying event, but once in a while symptoms may not show until years after the event. These symptoms lead to significant problems in work or social situations and even in relationships. The symptoms can be so bad that they can affect your normal daily task ability.
PTSD symptoms are usually categorized into four types: avoidance, intrusive memories, changes in emotional and physical reactions, and negative changes in mood and thinking. Symptoms can vary from person to person or vary over time.
Symptoms of intrusive memories consist of
- Unwanted and recurrent distressing thoughts of the traumatic event
- Flashbacks such as reliving the traumatic event like they are happening again
- Upsetting nightmares or dreams about the traumatic event
- Severe physical reactions or emotional distress to anything that reminds you of the traumatic event
Symptoms of avoidance may consist of
- Trying to avoid talking or thinking about the traumatic event
- Avoiding activities, places or even people that remind you of the traumatic event
Negative Changes In Mood And Thinking
Symptoms of negative changes in mood and thinking consist of
- Negative thoughts about other people, the world, or even yourself
- Hopelessness about the future
- Memory issues, including not remembering vital aspects of the traumatic event
- Difficulty maintaining close relationships
- Feeling detached from friends and family
- Lack of interest in activities you like to enjoy before
- The problem in experiencing positive emotions
- Feeling emotionally numb
Changes In Emotional And Physical Reactions
Symptoms of changes in emotional and physical reactions (also known as arousal symptoms) may consist of:
- Being easily frightened or startled
- Always super possessive or being on guard for danger
- Self-destructive behavior, like driving too fast or drinking too much
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Irritability, aggressive behavior or angry outbursts
Overwhelming Guilt Or Shame
For kids 6 years old and younger, symptoms and signs may consist of:
- Re-enacting the aspects of the traumatic event or the whole traumatic event through play
- Frightening dreams that may not necessarily consist of aspects of the traumatic event
Intensity of Symptoms
PTSD symptoms may vary over time in intensity. You may experience even more PTSD symptoms when you are feeling more stressed, or when you remember the terrifying event again and again.
When To See A Doctor
If you experience disturbing feelings and thoughts about a traumatic event for more than a month, if the symptoms are serious, or if you are unable to get your life back on track like it was before, talk to a mental health professional or your doctor. Sooner the treatment starts your chances of symptoms getting worse reduce drastically.
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If You Have Suicidal Thoughts
If you or someone you know to experiencing suicidal thoughts, get help immediately:
- Reach out to a loved one or a close friend.
- Listen or contact a spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.
- Call a helpline number.
- Fix an appointment with a mental health professional or your doctor.
When To Get Emergency Help
If you have a feeling that you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide never be alone. Always try to be around people. Listen and watch positive videos and talk to your close ones.
If someone in your contact is in danger and already attempted suicide before never leave that person alone. Make sure someone stays with that person 24*7 for that person’s safety. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. You can even take the person to a hospital emergency room but make sure to do it safely.
You can have post-traumatic stress disorder when you see, learn, or go through about an event that involves threatened or even actual death, sexual violation or serious injury.
Doctors are also not very sure why some people experience PTSD. PTSD is probably caused by multiple symptoms given below:
- Stressful experiences, including the severity and amount of trauma you’ve gone through in your life
- Inherited mental health issues, such as a family past of depression and anxiety
- Inherited qualities of your personality mostly called your temperament
- The ability of the brain to regulate the hormones and chemicals that your body releases in response to stress
Post-traumatic stress disorder can be experienced by anyone irrespective of their age. Although, some factors make you more prone to have PTSD after a traumatic situation, such as:
- Experiencing long-lasting or intense trauma
- Having gone through other trauma earlier in life, like childhood abuse
- Having a job that exposes you to traumatic situations more frequently such as first responders and military personnel
- Having certain other mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety
- Having issues with substance misuse, like excess drug use or drinking
- Not having a good support system of friends and family
- Having blood relatives who have mental health issues, including depression or anxiety
Kinds of Traumatic Events
The most common events that lead to the progress of PTSD include:
- Combat exposure
- Childhood physical abuse
- Sexual violence
- Physical assault
- Being threatened with a weapon
- An accident
There are many other traumatic events also that can lead to PTSD, such as natural disasters, fire, robbery, mugging, torture, plane crash, life-threatening medical diagnosis, kidnapping, terrorist attacks, and other life-threatening events.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can mess up your whole life such as your relationships, your job, your enjoyment of everyday activities, and your health.
PTSD may also heighten your risk of certain other mental health issues, such as:
- Anxiety and depression
- Issues with alcohol use or drugs
- Eating disorders
- Suicidal thoughts and actions
After going through a traumatic event, many people suffer from PTSD-like symptoms such as can’t stop thinking about what’s happened. Anxiety, fear, depression, anger, and guilt all of these are usual reactions to trauma. However, most people exposed to trauma do not experience long-term post-traumatic stress disorder.
Getting timely support and help may prevent usual stress reactions from getting worse and even worse which might result in PTSD. It could mean taking help and support from friends and family who will listen to your problems and offer comfort. Support from others may also help save you from unhealthy coping methods such as misuse of drugs or alcohol.