Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms

Published in Anxiety Panic Attacks on 9th June 2009

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If you or someone you love has experienced a traumatic event, the effects can be devastating. People who have dealt with trauma often feel the effects of the even long after it occurs. We most often think of post traumatic stress disorder as affecting soldiers who have returned from battle; however, this disorder can be triggered by all kinds of events.

If you have dealt with the illness or death of a loved one, for example, you may experience post traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Likewise, if you witness an accident, go through a financial disaster, or find yourself dealing with a painful and ugly divorce, these symptoms can wreak havoc on your life.

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Of course, not everyone who deals with personal trauma will develop post traumatic stress disorder. Each person has a different and unique way of dealing with stress, and many people are able to cope with painful events in a way that allows them to move on, both mentally and emotionally. If you or a loved one is unable to do so, though, it is a good idea to look at the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, to determine if professional help is needed.

Here are some of the most common post traumatic stress disorder symptoms:

  • Recurring, unavoidable memories of the traumatic event. Sufferers of post traumatic stress disorder often awake in the night with vivid memories of the event. They may also even experience flashbacks during normal day to day activities – this can make the prospect of going to work, running errands, or even engaging in leisure activities frightening.
  • Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the traumatic event. Even when the event is mentioned in casual conversation, the sufferer may be thrown into an emotional tailspin. For this reason, people with post traumatic stress disorder may go to great lengths to avoid situations that might remind them of the event.
  • Pervasive physical reactions to reminders of the event. Nausea, tension, headaches, increased heart rate, and sweating are all common physical post traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
  • Inability to recall particular aspects of the trauma. Important details, such as who was involved and where the traumatic event took place, may be blocked. Although the mind sometimes uses this as a defense mechanism, it can make it very difficult to work through the emotional strain caused by the event.
  • A feeling of detachment from life, and from other people. Post traumatic stress disorder sufferers typically build emotional walls around themselves to protect them from reminders of the trauma; however, this isolation leads to a sense of loneliness, and a belief that no one cares about what they are going through.
  • Feelings of guilt and self blame. Traumatic situations are usually unavoidable, but in the search to make sense of what happened, sufferers frequently blame themselves. They think that if they had made different choices, the traumatic event would not have occurred.

Post traumatic stress disorder symptoms can severely impact you, and those around you. If you have noted several of the symptoms described above, it is important to discuss them with your doctor – he or she will be able to suggest a variety of treatment options to help you deal with the disorder, come to terms with the traumatic event, and get your life back.

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