Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health illness brought on by experiencing or encountering a horrific incident such as a natural disaster, a catastrophic accident, a terrorist attack, war/combat, sexual abuse, and rape. People who have been threatened with death, sexual violence, or major injury, may also develop PTSD.

People that suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder have an increased feeling of threat. Even when they’re seemingly safe, their normal fight-or-flight reaction is disrupted, causing them to feel elevated alertness or fear.

Every person’s PTSD experience is different. While you may have gone through a comparable event to someone else, it’s likely that you were affected in different ways. 

How can you understand if you have post-traumatic stress disorder? 

Post-traumatic stress disorder can affect people of all ages. However, some circumstances, such as strong or long-lasting stress, may lead to a higher risk to develop post-traumatic stress disorder following a traumatic event. Having already experienced trauma, such as childhood trauma, or working in a position that puts you at risk of being exposed to traumatic situations, such as military people and first responders, or other mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression. PTSD does not affect everyone who has been through a terrible event. If the event was severe or lasted a long time, you’re more likely to acquire the disorder.

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can occur as soon as a month after a traumatic experience, but they can also take years to develop. PTSD can interfere with your daily activities as well as your capacity to function. Symptoms might be triggered by words, noises, or situations that remind you of a traumatic event. You may recognize some of the following signs and symptoms. Because each person’s experience is unique, you may encounter some, none, or all of these things. Intrusive memories, avoidance, unfavorable changes in thought and attitude, and changes in bodily and emotional response are the four basic categories of PTSD symptoms. 

You might experience:

  • Intrusive thoughts such as repeated, involuntary memories; distressing dreams; or flashbacks of the traumatic event.
  • Avoid people, places, thoughts, or situations that may remind you of the trauma.
  • A sense of being cut off from others; or an inability to experience good emotions.
  • Being irresponsible or self-destructive; being suspiciously highly aware of one’s surroundings, or having difficulty concentrating or sleeping.

These are only a few examples of many other symptoms of PTSD. If you are suffering from a post-traumatic event or if you don’t know the source of your suffering you can always ask for help.

You can also check our episode #28 — What Is Narcissism And How Do We Handle It? w/ Adriana Buccito to learn more about children.

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