Signs of PTSD – While Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects more than 4 million Americans, few people understand its full-force. The term “post-traumatic stress” refers to a type of anxiety that can result from experiencing a traumatic event, like being caught in a car accident or experiencing war overseas.
What Are the 5 Signs of PTSD?
There is no question that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common psychiatric conditions. More than 30 million Americans have it, and about 17 percent of veterans returning from war struggle with it for years. The problem is, many people don’t know they have PTSD or what to do about it once they find out. That’s because the symptoms of PTSD are so similar to those of other psychiatric disorders that almost everyone with PTSD feels like they’re going through a phase. Or worse, they think that because they have PTSD, they’re not able to get over a past event. If you’re experiencing any combination of these symptoms, it’s time to see a doctor — stat! Get yourself tested right away so you don’t waste time and money on unnecessary treatments that don’t work. While there are many different types of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we’ll only be focusing on diagnosable forms in this article. No one has ever died from being unable to detach themselves from their smartphone or computer in front of others, after all! Read on to learn more:
Amotivational disorders are a group of disorders characterized by a loss of interest or the ability to engage in normal, energetic pursuits. This can range from the simple to the chronic and debilitating. People with an amotivational disorder may find that they’re more likely to be affected by depression and anxiety disorders.
A major cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a loss of interest or energy that occurs as a result of trauma. This can be temporary, but it’s a common precursor to the more serious condition — depression.
While it may feel like you’re constantly on guard, you may actually be over-reacting to minor events or situations. You may worry about mundane things, or you might have “bad dreams.” Both of these things are normal and healthy — as is having anxiety about future events.
As you start to examine these different symptoms of PTSD, you may notice a theme between them. That theme is dissociation. This happens when your mind separates from your body, sometimes for long periods of time. Like an out-of-body experience, you might feel as if you’re looking at things from a different perspective, seeing things from a different time, or experiencing a different place.
If you’ve been dealing with anxiety or depression and/or have been struggling with re-experiencing the trauma, you might be experiencing flashbacks. These are similar to nightmares, but they last longer and are triggered by different things. For example, you might have a flashback about a fight you had in the past month or a fight you might have in the near future.
Guilt and Shame
While you may not want to feel this way, your feelings of guilt and shame often stem from the fact that you have PTSD. Feelings of guilt and shame can be very difficult to shake, and you may repress them for a long time. It’s important to talk to a qualified therapist about how you’re feeling and why, so you can get a better understanding of what’s going on in your life.
Having a friend or family member to talk to is one of the best things you can do for someone who is going through trauma. They can give you support and encourage you to talk about what you’re feeling. Finding a friend or a family member to talk to about how you’re feeling is the best thing you can do for yourself.
PTSD is a mental health condition that causes people to re-experience their trauma and feel intense fright even when they’re no longer in danger. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 8 million Americans have struggled with PTSD at some point in their lives.
But how do you know if your response to a traumatic event is in the range of normal, or if you’re suffering from something more serious? Here are five signs to watch out for that could indicate you’re dealing with PTSD.
One of the defining symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder is the presence of flashbacks. More than just upsetting or intrusive thoughts, flashbacks are vivid, intense memories of the trauma that cause someone to feel as if they’re reliving it all over again, in the present moment. Flashbacks can also be accompanied by physical symptoms, such as sweating, heavy breathing, or a pounding heart. Re-experiencing the trauma in this way can interfere with a person’s ability to go about their daily life, and can sometimes be prompted by certain words, places, or sensations.
Because symptoms can be triggered by specific people or places, a person who suffers from PTSD may avoid scenarios that remind them of their trauma. For example, people who have been in car accidents may avoid driving or riding in cars altogether. They may also refuse to talk about their feelings or the circumstances surrounding the event. Avoidance can sometimes be so severe that people with PTSD will change their entire daily routines just to steer clear of disturbing or troublesome reminders.
PTSD can cause recurring nightmares, which often lead to sleepless nights. But the general stress and anxiety that accompany post-traumatic stress disorder can also lead to persistent insomnia, even without the presence of disturbing memories. Constant irritability and tense feelings can make it hard to concentrate or relax, and lack of sleep may exacerbate other symptoms.
- Mood swings
It’s common for someone with PTSD to experience outbursts of anger, followed by periods of intense fearfulness. Depression and anxiety often lead to feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, and loss of interest in once-beloved activities. Seemingly innocuous events can cause outsized reactions, and as a result, many people with PTSD withdraw from social situations completely.
- Self-destructive behavior
The pain of PTSD drives some people to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. According to research from the National Institute of Health, around half of people treated for a substance abuse disorder meet the criteria for current PTSD. In addition, people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder may be at a higher risk of suicide, particularly those who simultaneously struggle with symptoms of depression.