Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
vivid flashbacks (feeling like the trauma is happening right now) intrusive thoughts or images. nightmares. intense distress at real or symbolic reminders of the trauma.
High adrenaline levels. Studies have shown that people with PTSD have abnormal levels of stress hormones. Normally, when in danger, the body produces stress hormones like adrenaline to trigger a reaction in the body. This reaction, often known as the "fight or flight" reaction, helps to deaden the senses and dull pain.
Chronic feelings of guilt, shame and self-blame. Feelings of emptiness. Difficulty forming and maintaining close relationships. Feeling as through no one understands you or what you've been through.
Alterations in arousal and reactivity: Arousal and reactive symptoms may include being irritable and having angry outbursts; behaving recklessly or in a self-destructive way; being overly watchful of one's surroundings in a suspecting way; being easily startled; or having problems concentrating or sleeping.
The course of the illness varies: Although some people recover within 6 months, others have symptoms that last for a year or longer. People with PTSD often have co-occurring conditions, such as depression, substance use, or one or more anxiety disorders.
While triggered, people may panic, feel overwhelmed, cry, act out, withdraw, or react defensively. Trigger symptoms often include: Feeling scared, panicked, anxious, or unsafe. Elevated heartbeat, sweating, and difficulty breathing.
Such an interaction could likely cause stress. And yelling can be a trigger for PTSD. However, if you do not have PTSD, making this comment can be insensitive to those with the condition. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, PTSD is a disorder in the DSM-5.
If you often feel as though your life has become unmanageable, this could be a sign that you have some unresolved emotional trauma. Emotional overreactions are a common symptom of trauma. A victim of trauma might redirect their overwhelming emotions towards others, such as family and friends.
While most adults know that teasing or bullying can trigger a behavior issue, many are not aware that some children also respond negatively to unwanted praise. Other common behavior triggers include overstimulation (bright lights, loud noises, etc.), transitions and having to interact with someone they don't like.
Women with PTSD may be more likely than men with PTSD to: Be easily startled. Have more trouble feeling emotions or feel numb. Avoid things that remind them of the trauma.
PTSD symptoms can return or worsen due to unexpected triggers, the anniversary of a traumatic event, or unavoidable life events such as the release of an incarcerated offender. It is important to learn the early warning signs so you can take control before your symptoms start to feel unmanageable.
People can have PTSD even though they do not recall the experience that triggered the problem. As a result, such people may live with PTSD for years without realizing it.
A person with PTSD has four main types of difficulties: Re-living the traumatic event through unwanted and recurring memories, flashbacks or vivid nightmares. There may be intense emotional or physical reactions when reminded of the event including sweating, heart palpitations, anxiety or panic.
For veterans, an example of a PTSD nightmare usually involves the replaying of traumatic events they witnessed or took part in. Similar to civilians who suffer from PTSD, their nightmares could be a replay of the traumatic event, such as physical abuse or violence.
There are different types of triggers: internal, external, and sensory triggers.
Be sensitive and empathetic to their emotions. Offer comfort and warmth, especially during flashbacks or times of intense anxiety. Know that it is OK to walk away. Romantic partners and other loved ones are not trained therapists and are not equipped to deal with all of the issues that PTSD may bring.