Home Health Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD
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Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health condition brought on by a particular experience. If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, you can find a therapist at BetterHelp.com that can help you by using cognitive behavioral therapy and cognitive processing therapy. 

PTSD can last for months or even years and cause a number of distressing symptoms. Some symptoms may not appear until months after the traumatic event. It can sometimes be hard to identify PTSD, but some symptoms keep an eye out for. Symptoms can negatively impact your relationships and wellbeing. 

PTSD is likely caused by a combination of factors, including stressful or terrifying experiences, inherited mental health risks, and personality traits or temperament. Some common events that lead to the development of PTSD include childhood abuse, sexual abuse or violence, physical assault, and exposure to combat. Other events can lead to PTSD as well. 

Typically, you will see that symptoms of PTSD are grouped into four different categories. These categories are intrusive memories, avoidance, arousal symptoms, and changes in mood and thinking. 

Intrusive Memories

Intrusive memories are memories of a traumatic event that are not desired and can be distressing. They will also be recurring, and the person suffering from PTSD may also experience them in a way that seems like the terrifying event is happening all over again. 

Intrusive Memories
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Sometimes intrusive memories find their way into our subconscious and come out in our dreams. Sometimes it can even feel like the event is happening for the first time. These memories often come with negative emotions and physical symptoms. 

Someone who is suffering from PTSD with intrusive memories may feel symptoms associated with anxiety. They may also feel guilt, fear, or even suspicion. Physical symptoms include chills, shakes, headaches, heart palpitations, and panic attacks.


Avoidance is exactly what it sounds like. Someone suffering from PTSD will attempt to avoid things related to the negative experience. This could be anything that reminds the person about that experience. In some cases, they may steer clear of people who remotely remind them of the event and result in isolation and detachment. 

The person with PTSD may also try to avoid any thoughts or feelings associated with the traumatic event, which can cause anxiety and other distressing thoughts and behaviors. The person may change their daily habits or routine and avoid things that are important to their wellbeing. 


Arousal symptoms can bring on strong emotions that make the person alter their behavior. The person suffering from PTSD may become irrational or have issues with agitation and anger. It may also become difficult to concentrate or focus because feelings of fear, anxiety, and danger can seep into the mind. It may even cause trouble with rest or sleep. Arousal symptoms may also coincide with a feeling of being tense or easily scared or startled. 

Arousal symptoms tend to be constant and not triggered by things that remind the person about the traumatic event. The person may also feel shame, guilt, or participate in self-destructive behavior.


Someone suffering from PTSD may have a mood change that appears to be unrelated to the traumatic event or experience. This often comes with a feeling of hopelessness or feeling bad about yourself or other people. It can also trigger thoughts of suicide. 

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The person with PTSD may also lose interest in things that they used to enjoy and have a drastic reduction in motivation. They may also have difficulty remembering specific features of the traumatic experience. It is normal to have these symptoms for a few weeks after you experience a dangerous event, but if they are severe or if they last for weeks or months, they are a sign of PTSD. 


PTSD symptoms can vary in intensity and get worse or more frequent when you are stressed or come across triggers or reminders of the traumatic event. People suffering from PTSD will also often coincide with substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts and tendencies. It is important to seek help if you or someone you know has been experiencing disturbing or distressing thoughts related to a traumatic event for more than a month or if the symptoms are severe and negatively impacting your wellbeing. 

Author Bio: Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

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