There is no prescriptive time-frame following the experience of a traumatic event in which ,Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms occur. They may begin days or even years afterwards and cause significant problems in social or work situations and personal relationships. Many say they interfere with their ability to go about normal daily tasks. PTSD Symptoms vary with time as well as person to person and are generally grouped into the following four types:

Symptoms of Intrusive Memory

· Recurring, unwanted, distressing memories of the traumatic event

· Flashbacks of reliving the event all over again

· Upsetting dreams or nightmares

· Severe emotional distress or physical reaction to things that recall stressful memories

Symptoms of Avoidance

· Intentionally trying not to think or talk about the event

· Avoiding places, activities, or people that bring the event back to mind

Symptoms of Negative Changes in Thinking and Mood

· Negative thoughts about yourself or other people or the world

· Hopelessness about the future

· Memory problems as well as forgetting aspects of the event

· Difficulty maintaining close relationships

· Feeling detached from family and friends

· Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed

· Difficulty experiencing positive emotions

· Feeling emotionally numb

Arousal Symptoms or Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions

· Being easily startled or frightened

· Always being on guard and looking out for danger

· Self-destructive behavior such as drinking too much or driving too fast

· Difficulty sleeping

· Trouble concentrating

· Irritability, angry outbursts, or aggressive behavior

· Overwhelming guilt or shame

For children 6 years old and younger, signs and symptoms may also include:

· Re-enacting the traumatic event or aspects of the traumatic event through play

· Frightening dreams that may or may not include aspects of the traumatic event

Symptoms of Varying Intensity:

You may experience more ,PTSD symptoms when you’re stressed or when you come across reminders of what you went through; you may hear a car backfire and relive combat or you may see a news report about sexual assault and feel overcome by memories of your own assault.

When to See a Doctor

Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional if disturbing thoughts/feelings remain severe, continue for more than a month, or if you feel you’re having trouble getting life under control. Getting prompt treatment can help prevent, PTSD symptoms from getting worse.

Experiencing Suicidal Thoughts

If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, seek professional help immediately or reach out to a close friend or loved one for assistance.

· Contact a minister, a spiritual leader, or someone in your faith community.

· ,Call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to reach a 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.

When Emergency Help is Required

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 immediately, or if you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.

If you know someone who’s in danger of attempting suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person to keep him/her safe.


Baz Porter

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