What is PTSD?

What Are the Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

PTSD has four types of symptoms:

  1. Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing)
  • Memories of the trauma can come back at any time.
  • You may feel the same fear and horror you did when the event took place.
  • You may have nightmares or feel like you’re going through it again. This is called a flashback.
  • Sometimes there is a trigger—a sound or sight that causes you to relive the event.
  • Seeing someone who reminds you of the trauma may bring back memories of the event.
  1. Avoiding situations that remind you of the event
  • You may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event.
  • You may even avoid talking or thinking about the event.
  • You may avoid crowds, because they feel dangerous.
  • If you were in a car accident or if your military convoy was bombed, you may avoid driving.
  • Some people may keep very busy or avoid seeking help. This keeps them from having to think or talk about the event.
  1. Negative changes in beliefs and feelings

The way you think about yourself and others changes because of the trauma. This symptom has many aspects, including the following:

  • You may not have positive or loving feelings toward other people and may stay away from relationships.
  • You may forget about parts of the traumatic event or not be able to talk about them.
  • You may think the world is completely dangerous, and no one can be trusted.
  1. Feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal)

You may be jittery, or always on the alert and on the lookout for danger. You might suddenly become angry or irritable. This is known as hyperarousal.

  • You may want to have your back to a wall in a restaurant or waiting room.
  • A loud noise can startle you easily.
  • If someone bumps into you, you might fly into a rage.