Symptoms of PTSD

Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a diagnosis that meets specific criteria. This can include a traumatic event, an experienced or witnessed threat, or a feeling of intense fear or helplessness.

Those with PTSD relive bad memories often and typically avoid any situation that reminds them of the original event. This can mean avoiding certain people, places, or activities. Those with PTSD will also lose interest in activities they enjoy and constantly seem on alert.

As a trauma therapist in Bethesda, MD, from an office like Lindsey Hoskins & Associates can explain, insomnia and depression are common in individuals with PTSD. Increased rates of substance abuse, divorce, and unemployment are often associated with victims of PTSD. PTSD can last from as little as a month to an individual’s entire life. Symptoms do not always develop immediately and may emerge suddenly or gradually after months (and sometimes even years) after the traumatic incident.

What Causes PTSD?

Trauma is extreme stress that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope. Types of trauma may include threats to life, bodily harm, and threats against mental health. A person may feel overwhelmed physically, emotionally or mentally when experiencing trauma. Over 60 of men and 50 percent of women have experienced some form of trauma in their lifetime, and around 8 percent of adults in America have been diagnosed with PTSD. Women are more than twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime, and 1 and 5 service members who returned from the war in 2016 showed symptoms of PTSD.

Significant sources of PTSD trauma include:

  • Military combat
  • Violent personal Assault 
  • Childhood sexual or physical abuse
  • Being taken hostage and/or kidnapped
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Natural disasters
  • Car accidents
  • Being diagnosed with a long-term or life-threatening illness
  • Domestic violence
  • Workplace harassment
  • Seeing another individual die 
  • History of mental illness

What Can Help an Individual with PTSD?

We are all looking to help not only ourselves but to help those who we love. Individuals with PTSD can be helped in numerous ways.

  •  The first thing you should do is be patient and understanding. Overcoming PTSD can take time and can be hard because it is a process, not perfection. Listening to the individual and letting them discuss their problem can help them continue moving forward. 
  • Try to be aware of the individual’s triggers. Many individuals with PTSD have certain triggers that cause them to go into a PTSD-like response. Knowing this and working to avoid them or offer extra support during this time can help. For example, if the individual has PTSD from war, try to avoid going to a Fourth of July party that will have loud fireworks. They may resemble gunshots.
  • Do not take PTSD symptoms personally. It can be very hard, but common symptoms include avoiding intimacy and isolation. Seek to understand 
  • Encourage the individual to reach out. Having a good family and friends support network can help a lot in recovery. Having a coping strategy, joining groups specializing in PTSD recovery, and seeing a personal therapist will greatly aid.