Warning Signs Of PTSD

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health anxiety disorder that results from someone’s involvement in a traumatic event. Generally someone who shows symptoms of PTSD has felt unsafe, or that the safety of him or herself or the safety of others has been compromised during an event.

Those who have been exposed to combat during active times of war are shown to experience the symptoms of PTSD in pretty severe forms. Child sexual or physical abuse, terrorist attacks, sexual or physical assault as an adult, serious accidents, or natural disasters are the main causes of events that lead an individual to experience Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Difficulty Moving On

If you, or someone you know, has been through a traumatic event and is experiencing difficulty moving past the event, or is having severe emotional ties and reactions to the event or events, there are symptoms you can check for, and use to seek help.

After the traumatic event, if you feel unsafe, afraid, or nervous; or you experience recurring and upsetting memories or nightmares of the event, have upsetting thoughts, feel numb or cut off from other people, avoid reminders of the event (people, places, or things), and have a hard time continuing with your daily activities and responsibilities, and these symptoms do not get any better, you may have PTSD.

There are 4 types of warning signs of PTSD:

1. Reexperiencing, or Reliving the Event

If you, or someone you love, is being reminded of the traumatic event through all kinds of triggers in everyday life, PTSD may be at play. If the event is being relived during waking hours, or as nightmares during sleeping hours, this is a reexperiencing symptom of PTSD.

Small things like sounds, scents, or sights can cause someone with PTSD to relive the event automatically without warning. It can happen at any time and can cause the person to feel the same fear and horror as was felt at the time the event occurred. Flashbacks can be debilitating for someone who has PTSD.

2. Avoidance

If you, or your loved one, has been staying away from things that are reminders of the event, this can be a warning sign of PTSD. Avoiding situations or people who trigger memories of the event, or avoiding talking or thinking about the traumatic events altogether, are telling signs of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

An example of avoidance is a person who was robbed at gunpoint at a bank ATM may avoid ATMs and banks completely.

The problem with avoidance, that makes it a warning sign of PTSD is that someone may avoid speaking to people entirely and therefore, avoid seeking help because of the strong desire to not think about or talk about emotions surrounding the traumatic event.

3. Numbing

With this category of PTSD warning signs, individuals experience a strong decrease in feeling and expressing emotions. The numbing symptoms make it difficult for the individual to feel his or emotions at all.

If positive and loving feelings that were felt for others in the past are no longer present, you or your loved one may be diagnosed with PTSD. Staying away from relationships completely and disinterest in activities you once enjoyed are signs of numbing, and PTSD.

Numbing can also include not remembering parts of the traumatic event anymore.

4. Arousal

This occurs when your body is “keyed up,” meaning you are feeling and experiencing anger, irritability, trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, feeling on guard or constantly looking out for danger, or becoming startled easily when someone surprises you.

These indicate PTSD when you do not have a good explanation for or understanding as to why you are feeling this way.

These four types of symptoms serve as warning signs of PTSD. If you can relate to these symptoms, or you can see them in someone who may not be able to self-recognize them right now, help is available.

Jared Friedman works as quality improvement manager for Sovereign Health Group a California dual diagnosis treatment center helping people with mental health and addiction issues.

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