"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

PTSD: signs and symptoms

As time passes after a traumatic event, it's natural to consider that your mind and body have healed and moved on. But symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can appear months and even years later.

Unlike a rash or a broken arm, post-traumatic stress disorder may be difficult to acknowledge, especially when it's happening in your individual head. Although it will probably feel and appear like depression or anger, PTSD is different. And it will probably affect every little thing from the best way you sleep to your relationships at home and at work.

PTSD symptoms are divided into 4 fundamental groups:


Whether you concentrate on it or not, memories of the traumatic event can come back and trouble you. You may experience them as nightmares whilst you sleep or as flashbacks throughout the day. This means you relive the event as if it were happening for the primary time.

Both could make you are feeling anxious, anxious, guilty, or suspicious. These emotions can manifest themselves physically in the shape of chills, tremors, headaches, heart palpitations, and panic attacks.


You don't need to give it some thought. You don't need to speak about it. You avoid anything and every little thing that reminds you of the event, including places and activities.

Avoidance may also mean staying away from people basically – not only those related to the event. This can leave you feeling distant and alone.

Behavioral changes

Your emotions are more intense otherwise you react in a different way than normal. For example, in case you are a careful driver, you would possibly drive too fast or be very aggressive on the road. Irrational, indignant outbursts are quite common.

You may find it difficult to pay attention. Feelings of danger and attack can affect concentration and forestall you from completing tasks that you simply do day by day. This may also cause difficulty sleeping, whether you've nightmares or not.

Mood swings

Post-traumatic stress disorder is just not all the time accompanied by clues akin to nightmares and flashbacks. Sometimes it appears to be a change in mood that has nothing to do with the traumatic event.

You can tell by its negativity. You may feel hopeless, numb, or bad about yourself or others. Thoughts of suicide can come and go. Deep feelings of guilt and shame are also common.

Activities that you simply normally enjoy may now not interest you. Your motivation to keep up relationships with close family and friends could also be low.

If your symptoms persist a month after the traumatic event, you will have PTSD. Approximately 6% of Americans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder in some unspecified time in the future of their lives. But mMost individuals who experience a traumatic event don't get PTSD.

Events that may result in PTSD include:

  • Surviving a serious automobile accident
  • Sexual assault or rape
  • war or battle
  • Child abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Being tortured
  • Experience natural disasters akin to a hearth, hurricane or earthquake
  • Experience traumatic events, akin to the death of a loved one
  • Hearing from family members who're at risk or experiencing trauma

In 1988, Dr. Judith Herman, an American psychiatrist, suggested that a brand new diagnosis is required to explain the symptoms experienced by individuals with long-term trauma because of persistent situations – for instance, repeated domestic violence or life in a prisoner of war camp. In these situations, you're under the control of one other person for an prolonged time period. Herman called this diagnosis complex PTSD.

Symptoms of complex PTSD include:

  • Be aggressive
  • Abuse of medication and alcohol
  • Experiencing anger, depression or panic
  • I find it difficult to attach with people or make friends
  • Feeling worthless or stuffed with guilt

Most of those symptoms may also occur in individuals with PTSD, which is why some experts consider complex PTSD (CPTSD) shouldn't be a separate diagnosis. It is just not listed in the present one Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the official US guide to diagnosing mental disorders.

For those that think it must be a separate diagnosis, one difference is that folks with CPTSD are triggered by relationships, while individuals with PTSD are often triggered by sights, sounds, or smells. The troubling relationships normally involve individuals who would normally be assumed to be secure, akin to a parent. This is why individuals with CPTSD find it difficult to trust others. Additionally, post-traumatic stress disorder can occur because of a single incident (akin to being held at gunpoint), whereas post-traumatic stress disorder is an ongoing pattern of trauma that becomes ingrained in your nervous system.

If you suffer from any such PTSD, it's possible you'll also experience the next symptoms, amongst other signs of PTSD:

Depersonalization. You feel detached out of your body, as in case you were an external observer of your individual experiences (detachment from yourself).

Derealization. You have often experienced your surroundings as in the event that they were unreal or as in the event that they got here from a dream (detachment from the environment).

About 15% of individuals with PTSD experience depersonalization and derealization. Typically that they had a traumatic childhood by which they were abused or neglected. They may suffer from amnesia, flashbacks, suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide.

Children who've suffered severe trauma (akin to experiencing abuse or the death of a parent) may develop PTSD. Childhood PTSD symptoms include:

  • Relive the traumatic event over and another time in your thoughts or in play
  • Having nightmares or having trouble falling asleep
  • Feeling intense fear or sadness
  • have temper tantrums
  • Denying that the event occurred or avoiding people and places related to the event.
  • I'm having problems in school
  • Return to toddler behavior, akin to thumb sucking and bedwetting
  • Losing interest in things they once enjoyed

Combat veterans are at a much higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder than other people. A study by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans showed that 15.7% of deployed veterans had experienced PTSD. Other studies put the speed even higher, at 20-30%. Some symptoms are:

  • Relive the event (do you've nightmares about it or flashbacks where you are feeling like you're reliving the event). You might even see, smell, or hear something that triggers the event.
  • Avoid things that remind you of the event. For example, you avoid crowds because they feel dangerous, or avoid driving in case your military convoy was bombed.
  • You have more negative thoughts and feelings than before the event. You distance yourself out of your family members and feel like nobody may be trusted.
  • I feel nervous on a regular basis. You should be hypervigilant since the world seems dangerous. You may start drinking or popping up to manage.

Many veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder a couple of months after coming back from war. But others don't experience post-traumatic stress disorder until years later, perhaps after they've retired and have less time to distract their thoughts. A 3rd group might suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder immediately after their war experience and go an extended time without this experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, after which relive it later in life.

Women are twice as more likely to develop PTSD as men. Researchers are attempting to work out the precise reason, but one theory is that ladies are way more more likely to be sexually assaulted or raped than men, traumas that carry a really high risk of PTSD. Half of ladies who're raped develop PTSD. Women with PTSD are more likely than men to have the next signs:

  • Be easily frightened
  • Feel numb or have difficulty feeling emotions
  • Avoid things that may remind them of the traumatic incident
  • Feel depressed and anxious

Traumatic birth experiences, akin to the lack of a baby, may also result in PTSD. This also applies to sexual abuse in childhood, something that girls experience way more often than boys.

Women are inclined to have symptoms of PTSD longer before diagnosis and treatment than men. One study showed that it took women 4 years to receive a diagnosis and treatment, in comparison with one yr for men.

Although women usually tend to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder than men, men are literally exposed to more traumatic situations. Six out of ten men (60%) and five out of ten women (50%) experience a minimum of one traumatic event of their life. The higher rates for men are because they're more likely than women to:

  • To have an accident
  • Being physically attacked
  • Experience the fight
  • Witness death or injury

The signs and symptoms of PTSD are much like those of ladies, but men usually tend to:

  • Have problems with drugs or alcohol
  • Have difficulty controlling anger
  • Be hypervigilant
  • Have nightmares

It's normal to be nervous or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event. But in case your thoughts and feelings are still bothering you (and interfering along with your day by day life) greater than a month after the event, pEastern Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Both trauma-focused talk therapy and medicine are helpful in treating PTSD.

What happens when PTSD is triggered?

If your post-traumatic stress disorder is triggered by a sight, sound, or smell, it's possible you'll feel unwell, have trouble sleeping, drink or take drugs, or grow to be angrier. You could also try staying away from individuals who remind you of the event or from social media and tv. Research shows that post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans may be triggered by war news or veteran meetings.

Does PTSD ever go away?

Many people improve on their very own. Others need treatment. With treatment, roughly 30% of patients get well from PTSD. Another 40% should have symptoms, but they will probably be much milder.