Post traumatic stress disorder symptoms can appear consequently to virtually any trauma or devastating life event. Coping with anxiety manifestations tends to be quite difficult when the onset of PTSD symptoms occur immediately after the life-threatening or traumatic experience. In most people affected by this psychological condition the intensity and frequency of post traumatic stress symptoms is variable, meaning that there are periods when the anxious manifestations are extremely pronounced and hard to control and on the other hand there are also periods when the symptoms of PTSD are rather mild and don’t necessarily interfere with the sufferer’s daily activities.
The nature of these signs and symptoms varies as well and for this reason PTSD symptoms are grouped into three main categories:
- symptoms of avoidance and numbness,
- hyper arousal and increased anxiety
- intrusive memories
PTSD Symptoms Involving Avoidance
In order to get rid of the upsetting flashbacks and feelings triggered by the constant reliving of the traumatic event, people affected by this ailment develop so called avoidance behaviors, refusing to talk about their drama, to visit places linked with the anxiety-inducing situations, to meet people that remind them of the suffered trauma or to do things that could end up in the same way.
These symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder are accompanied by emotional numbness, manifested as intense efforts done in order to kill absolutely any feeling and to become completely detached emotionally and isolated from anyone or anything that could hurt the sufferer in the same way the traumatic event did. Often, people with PTSD give up activities they used to enjoy, adopt a negative attitude towards this activity and feel completely hopeless. Concentration and memory problems may also be experienced as a consequence of these post traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms Involving Emotional Arousal and Increased Anxiety
Post traumatic stress symptoms included in this second category are:
- the increased irritability and anger
- the overwhelming feeling of shame or guilt
- sleeping problems
- exaggerated fears
- unhealthy and self-destructive behaviors, such as drug or alcohol abuse
- hyper vigilance
The vast majority of PTSD victims find it difficult to relax within the first months following the traumatic event and are always on guard. Because of the continuous worries and sleeping problems, these people experience increased tiredness and physical symptoms such as sweating, headaches, chest pain, digestive problems, dizziness or tremors.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms Involving the Reliving of the Event
Flashbacks are always present in people witnessing traumatic events in the form of bad memories that come back on a constant basis. Whenever these manifestations occur, the patient experiences intense feelings of fear and horror, as if they were going through the dramatic situation again. Seeing a car accident, hearing about sexual assaults or backfires can bring back the unwanted memories.
Whether these PTSD symptoms manifest during daytime or as nightmares, they are often so intense that the sufferer re-experiences not only the emotions felt during the traumatic situation but also the physical sensations, such as accelerated heart beats, intense sweating, difficult breathing and so on.
These post traumatic stress disorder symptoms are so powerful they can’t be controlled or managed without professional help therefore seeing a specialist is the first thing one needs to do after experiencing a distressing or traumatic event.