Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that arises from experiencing or witnessing highly distressing events. There are three primary causes of PTSD include experiencing violence or abuse, facing life-threatening situations, and witnessing the trauma of others.

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can vary but commonly involve recurring intrusive thoughts, avoiding trauma reminders, etc. To determine if you might have PTSD, consider seeking professional assessment.

If you resonate with several questions like having frequent disturbing thoughts or memories associated with the traumatic occurrence. Always keep in mind that timely recognition and support are essential for managing PTSD effectively. 

In this article we will learn about PTSD and how someone can identify if they have PTSD or not.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

When someone experiences a stressful situation, it results in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental health condition. For instance, imagine someone who served in the military experiencing PTSD symptoms after returning home from combat.

They might have vivid flashbacks of traumatic events, making it difficult for them to sleep or concentrate on daily tasks. Certain sounds or smells might trigger intense emotional reactions, causing them to feel on edge or constantly vigilant, even in safe environments. This can profoundly affect their relationships, work, and overall quality of life.

What is Trauma?

An extreme experience that pushes the boundaries of language and have the capacities to rupture meaning altogether. Therefore, any incident will fall under the umbrella of trauma if it:

  •       Violates a person’s sense of security
  •       Endangers their safety,
  •       Puts them in a fight, flight or freeze mode

Get a PTSD medical report from PTSD expert witness

What are the causes of Post-traumatic stress disorder?

According to the NHS, PTSD develops in about 1 in 3 people who experience severe trauma.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can begin as soon as one month after a stressful experience. However, they can also take years to manifest. These causes of PTSD bring significant issues in social, professional, and romantic interactions. Furthermore, they may also make it difficult for you to carry out regular activities as usual.

The 3 main causes of Post-traumatic stress disorder

So, how does this mental health condition manifest? After a traumatic event post traumatic stress disorder comes to the surface as flashbacks, nightmares, feeling very anxious and difficulty sleeping. Moreover, since there’s no single cause for PTSD, understanding common triggers can help us approach the condition with more compassion. Here are three of the most frequent:

1. Experiencing Violence or Abuse

If an individual is experiencing violence or abuse of physical, sexual, or emotional nature it can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder . And you can develop the condition as a direct victim, witness, or even through repeated exposure to details of traumatic events.  Quite often, the feeling of violation and helplessness can leave lasting emotional wounds.

2. Facing Life-Threatening Situations

Accidents, natural disasters, war, and other situations where your life or someone else’s is at risk can trigger intense fear and a sense of powerlessness. In those cases, post traumatic stress disorder can feel like the world is a chaotic and dangerous place, making it difficult to feel safe again.

3. Witnessing the Trauma of Others

 It’s not just personal experiences that can lead to post traumatic stress disorder.  When you closely witness the suffering of loved ones, friends, or even strangers in a traumatic event it can trigger similar emotional responses. The feeling of helplessness in the face of their pain can be deeply triggering.

Who gets Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can affect anyone at any stage of life. While commonly associated with combat veterans, it can arise from various situations. Witnessing or experiencing physical/sexual assault, abuse, accidents, disasters, or other severe events can trigger PTSD. People with PTSD often experience persistent fear and stress, even in safe environments.

How do I know if I have PTSD?

 One of the challenges in identifying post traumatic stress disorder is distinguishing between normal stress responses and symptoms that warrant professional attention. It’s natural to experience stress following a traumatic event. But when these symptoms persist and interfere with daily life, it may be a sign of post traumatic stress disorder. Also we have very detailed article on How do i know if i have ptsd.

If you’re unsure whether you’re experiencing symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, conducting a self-assessment can provide clarity. Consider questions such as:

  •       Do I frequently experience intrusive thoughts or memories related to the traumatic event?
  •       Do I avoid situations or activities that remind me of the trauma?
  •       Am I easily startled or on edge?

Signs and Symptoms

Have you ever felt like a loud noise or a familiar smell sent you right back to your traumatic experience? It could be a sign or symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder. This mental health condition may develop after exposure to a frightening or scary event.

Additionally, everyone reacts differently to a traumatic event, learning about the common symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder can lead to early diagnosis and treatment.

4 Major symptoms of PTSD

post traumatic stress disorder Symptoms or trauma can result from multiple painful experiences, including combat in the military, violence, racism, childhood neglect. Also, accidents, natural catastrophes and personal tragedies.

Although everyone having post traumatic stress disorder has unique symptoms, there are four that need to be highlighted:

1. Reliving the trauma

You tend to replay the painful event through memories, flashbacks or nightmares. Moreover, you experience intense mental or physical responses when reminded of the incident

2. Avoidance and numbing

You are unable to recall details of the incident and lack interest in life and activities in general. Thus, feeling disconnected from the world and having a feeling of a limited outlook for the future.

3. Hypervigilance

This includes sleep issues, overwhelm and irritability as if you are always on “red alert.  Also, you get easily startled or jittery, have angry outbursts and indulge in reckless behavior.

4. Feeling isolated

post traumatic stress disorder triggers negative thoughts and mood shifts making you feel isolated and lonely. You struggle to concentrate but the thoughts of betrayal, distrust, shame and guilt take over your life.

It needs to be noted that women and men experience post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms differently.  And post-traumatic stress disorder is more common in women than men, partly due to the different kinds of trauma women face at the hands of men such as domestic violence.  Let us discuss how the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder differ in men and women.

What are the symptoms of PTSD in women?

Women who experience a traumatic event that results in post-traumatic stress disorder frequently feel reluctant to seek assistance from a mental health professional. And it is not unusual for them to have to wait years before getting therapy. Unfortunately, due to negligence towards the health issues of women, health providers frequently fail to recognise post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in women.

Typical post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in females include:

  • Avoidance
  • Increased anxiety
  • A strong startle reflex
  • Hypervigilance
  • Sleep problems
  • Concentration issues
  • Irritability
  • Panic incidents
  • Reliving the traumatic event
  • Emotional Apathy/ numbness

What are the symptoms of PTSD in men?

At some point in their lives men also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, but due to the stigma attached to their mental health they often do not seek treatment. Most of the time they are unaware of their symptoms entirely.

Here is how post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms manifest in men:

  • Being incredibly lonely or isolated
  • Feeling tremendous emotions but unable to control them
  • Being always alert
  • Having bad memories
  • Dissociation/ avoidance
  • Constantly preparing for any future trauma
  • Sense of helplessness or shame

What are the Symptoms of PTSD in Children?

When it comes to children, particularly young children, symptoms and signs of post-traumatic stress disorder may differ from that of adults. They could include:

  • The fear of being separated from their parents
  • The loss of previously acquired skills (such as toilet training)
  • Sleep issues and nightmares
  • Compulsive, obnoxious play that focuses on themes or aspects of the trauma is re-enacted
  • Fears and anxieties are new and appear unrelated to trauma (such as fears or phobias about monsters)
  • Playing the trauma out through stories, play, or even drawings
  • Pains and aches that do not indicate the root
  • Aggression and irritability

Read: 4 Tips for Dealing with PTSD

What are the Most Effective PTSD Treatments

Following are the top 6 most effective treatment have been recommended by various clinical practice guidelines and have shown significant benefit in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Top 6 Most Effective Treatments

There has been a lot of research done on post-traumatic stress disorder. Numerous post-traumatic stress disorder Treatments are proven successful. Similarly, the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can also be treated with several forms of therapy.

Therapy Treatments for Treating PTSD

The following are some potential advantages of Therapy Treatments for Treating post-traumatic stress disorder:

1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

This widely used approach focuses on identifying and modifying negative thought patterns and behaviours associated with the trauma. Moreover, it equips people with coping mechanisms to manage stress and improve daily functioning.

2. Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

A specific type of CBT, CPT helps individuals reframe their trauma narratives by identifying and challenging distorted thinking patterns related to the event. This can lead to a more balanced perspective and emotional regulation.

Also, you may want to What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and How it Triggers post-traumatic stress disorder?

3. Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy

Similar to CBT, PE targets the avoidance behaviors that often develop in post-traumatic stress disorder. Through gradual exposure to memories and situations associated with the trauma, individuals learn to manage their fear response and reduce avoidance.

4. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR incorporates elements of CBT with rhythmic eye movements or other bilateral stimulation (e.g., tapping, sounds) to help individuals process traumatic memories and reduce their emotional distress.

5. Family Therapy and Group Therapy

Family and group therapy provides support and understanding for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, and addresses the impact of the disorder on their relationships. Family therapy helps family members cope with the situation and build supportive connections. Meanwhile, group therapy allows individuals to connect with others who share similar experiences and learn from each other’s coping strategies.

6. Medication

Although medication isn’t a first-line treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, it can be helpful in managing co-occurring conditions like anxiety or depression, which can sometimes exacerbate post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed medications for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Final Thoughts

The more severe and long-lasting the threat, the greater the likelihood of developing PTSD. Intentional, human-caused harm, such as rape, assault and torture, is more traumatizing than “acts of God” or other more personal incidents and catastrophes. The degree to which the traumatizing event was unplanned, unpredictable, and unavoidable is also a factor.

If you find that you’re answering yes to many of these questions, do not just sit back and let your mental health depreciate! Contact Concise Medico, for post-traumatic stress disorder related treatment services and expert witness reports for court.

Share This Article!