What are the symptoms of PTSD?

If you have experienced severe traumatic event – you’ve been sexually or physically assaulted, you are a war veteran, or you witnessed a threatening act – you may likely develop and suffer from a condition known as PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The symptoms of this disorder can start immediately after the event – which is known as Acute Stress Disorder, or they can strike months or years later, which is now called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

A person with this disorder may start experiencing flashbacks of the traumatic event or may avoid the situations that remind them of the trauma they went through. For instance, a war veteran may avoid fireworks displays during celebrations because they make them remember battle explosions and gun shots in the war. When you have this PTSD, you may also have insomnia (lack of sleep) and have recurring frightening dreams or nightmares. Other symptoms of PTSD include a condition known as hypervigilance, whereby all your senses are ever alert for danger, either real or not.

If you have hypervigilance, you’ll find that your everyday life is deteriorating considerably since you will always be so vigilant on watching your surroundings for any form of danger that you will have a difficult time relating to or seeing reality. PTSD can also cause the sufferers to lose their jobs due to their excessive anger which affects professional and personal relationships.  If you’ve been through a severe traumatic event and you have some of the above-mentioned symptoms, you can benefit from a session with a psychiatrist, counselor or other mental health professionals. You’ll be able to receive an accurate evaluation of your post-traumatic stress disorder. Licensed and trained professionals will also help you with treatment.

There are various treatment modalities available to PTSD suffers such as individual therapy, group therapy, and medications. There’s also a specific type of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy that can help you have a good understanding of how your negative thoughts can cause negative feelings. A therapist using this therapy will help you learn how to modify your negative thoughts and views of situations and circumstances.  Another helpful thing you can do is attending a support group with other PTSD sufferers. People who have experienced traumatic situations can help each other work through their problems.

Your fellow PTSD sufferers who have experienced a situation similar to yours can perhaps understand what you are going through much better than those who haven’t. Your therapist, psychiatrist or counselor will probably know of one or two support groups in your area you could join. In fact, you’ll find that many professionals who treat PTSD often run these types of groups themselves.  Another treatment option for PTSD is Medications. Again, a psychiatrist, or a physician or can prescribe anti-anxiety meds to help you with your anxiety. They will also prescribe other types of medications like antidepressants depending on your symptoms.  PTSD can significantly affect the quality of your life, and if you have one of the above symptoms, I hope you’ll avail yourself to a mental health professional for treatment.

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