Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD – What is it?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an extreme form of anxiety following a traumatic event. Sufferers often develop PTSD after experiencing an event that caused them to feel extreme fear, shock or helplessness such as a car accident or wartime atrocity or after being repeatedly exposed to trauma such as childhood abuse or sexual violence.

Someone going through PTSD will normally exhibit the following  symptoms:

  • Re-experience – reliving the traumatic event in your mind is normal, often in vivid flashbacks and nightmares, an experience which may be accompanied by heart palpitations, profuse sweating, difficulty breathing and feelings of panic.
  • Hyperarousal – experience feelings of being highly-wired, constantly on guard for signs of danger, overprotective of loved ones, easily startled and often experience irritability, lack of concentration and difficulty sleeping.
  • Avoidance – may avoid any places, situations, people, objects or activities that might remind them of the traumatic event and bring back painful memories. They may also avoid having any thoughts or conversations about the event.
  • Detachment – they often lose interest in everyday activities and feel detached and isolated from others and emotionally numb. Their thoughts and feelings may also become negative and they may experience difficulty having positive feelings like love or happiness.

Many of these reactions are an exaggerated version of the body’s natural ‘fight or flight’ responses to stress, so gaining a better understanding of the symptoms may help us to better understand the causes of PTSD.