post-traumatic stress disorder (pts) is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event, either experienced or witnessed. symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Most people who experience traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually improve. If symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your daily functioning, you may have PTSD.
Receiving effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reducing symptoms and improving function.
PTSD symptoms can begin within a month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. they can also interfere with your ability to perform your normal daily tasks.
PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. symptoms may vary over time or vary from person to person.
Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:
- recurring and unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
- reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
- Disturbing dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
- severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event
- try to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
- avoid places, activities, or people that remind you of the traumatic event
- negative thoughts about yourself, other people, or the world
- hopelessness about the future
- memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
- difficulty maintaining close relationships
- feeling separated from family and friends
- lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed
- difficulty experiencing positive emotions
- feeling emotionally numb
- startled or startled easily
- always be on guard against danger
- self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
- trouble sleeping
- trouble concentrating
- irritability, angry outbursts, or aggressive behavior
- overwhelming guilt or shame
- recreate the traumatic event or aspects of the traumatic event through play
- frightening dreams that may or may not include aspects of the traumatic event
- Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
- Contact a minister, spiritual leader, or someone in your faith community.
- Call a Suicide Hotline Number: In the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-Talk (1-800-273-8255) to reach a suicide hotline. trained counselor. use that same number and press 1 to reach the veterans crisis line.
- make an appointment with your doctor or a mental health professional.
- stressful experiences, including the amount and severity of trauma you have experienced in your life
- inherited mental health risks, such as a family history of anxiety and depression
- inherited traits of your personality, often called your temperament
- how your brain regulates the chemicals and hormones your body releases in response to stress
- experiencing intense or lasting trauma
- having experienced other trauma earlier in life, such as childhood abuse
- having a job that increases your risk of being exposed to traumatic events, such as military personnel and first responders
- have other mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
- have substance abuse problems, such as excessive drinking or drug use
- without a good support system of family and friends
- having blood relatives with mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
- combat exposure
- child physical abuse
- sexual violence
- physical aggression
- being threatened with a weapon
- an accident
- depression and anxiety
- problems with drug or alcohol use
- eating disorders
- suicidal thoughts and actions
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avoidance symptoms may include:
negative changes in thinking and mood
Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:
changes in physical and emotional reactions
Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:
For children 6 years of age and younger, signs and symptoms may also include:
intensity of symptoms
PTSD symptoms can vary in intensity over time. You may have more ptsd symptoms when you are stressed in general, or when you find yourself with reminders of what happened. for example, you can hear a car backfire and relive combat experiences. Or you may see a news report about a sexual assault and be overwhelmed by memories of your own assault.
when to see a doctor
If you have disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month, if they are severe, or if you feel like you are having trouble regaining control of your life, talk to your doctor or a mental health specialist. professional. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.
if you have suicidal thoughts
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away from one or more of these resources:
when to get emergency help
If you think you might hurt yourself or try to kill yourself, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.
If you know someone who is in danger of attempting suicide or has attempted suicide, make sure someone stays with that person to keep them safe. call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. or, if you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.
You can develop PTSD when you experience, see, or learn of an event involving actual or threatened death, serious injury, or rape.
Doctors aren’t sure why some people develop PTSD. As with most mental health problems, PTSD is likely caused by a complex combination of:
People of all ages can have PTSD. however, some factors can make you more likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic event, such as:
types of traumatic events
The most common events that lead to the development of ptsd include:
many other traumatic events can also lead to ptsd, including fires, natural disasters, muggings, robberies, plane crashes, torture, kidnapping, life-threatening medical diagnoses, terrorist attacks, and other extreme or life-threatening events.
PTSD can disrupt your whole life: your job, your relationships, your health, and your enjoyment of everyday activities.
having ptsd can also increase your risk of other mental health problems, such as:
After surviving a traumatic event, many people have PTSD-like symptoms at first, such as not being able to stop thinking about what happened. fear, anxiety, anger, depression, guilt: these are all common reactions to trauma. however, most people exposed to trauma do not develop long-term post-traumatic stress disorder.
Getting help and support early can prevent normal stress reactions from worsening into PTSD. this may mean turning to family and friends who will listen and offer comfort. it may mean seeking out a mental health professional for a short course of therapy. some people may also find it helpful to turn to their faith community.
support from others can also help keep you from resorting to unhealthy coping methods, such as drug or alcohol abuse.