Do You Have PTSD?

5 minutes Written by Dana Carretta-Stein

Signs and Symptoms You May not Know are PTSD

The concept of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is used to describe mental health problems that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing an intense traumatic experience such as a sexual assault, natural disaster, combat or car accident.

According to American Psychiatric Association, about 1 in 11 people that have gone through a traumatic experience will have PTSD in their lifetime.

If you have been exposed to an actual or threatened serious injury, sexual violation or death, you might be at a high risk of developing a post-traumatic stress disorder. It is important to early recognize and address PTSD symptoms because this can save you from further suffering.

Early screening of yourself for possible signs and symptoms of PTSD can help you cope with a traumatic experience, get your life back on the track, and stay mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy.

Wondering if you’re symptoms are trauma related? Take this quick 10 question quiz to find out. A score of 4 or higher may suggest that you have symptoms related to a traumatic life experience.

The Common Symptoms of PTSD

While the anxiety and depression symptoms are a huge part of post-traumatic stress disorder, they are not the whole picture. In addition to anxiety and depression, people with PTSD often suffer from negative thoughts, re-experiencing trauma through flashbacks and nightmares, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, impulsive or self-destructive behavior, and being easily angered and irritated.

However, sometimes the signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can be subtle and not always obviously recognizable bot to the person experiencing them and those around them. This can generate different problems, from being incorrectly diagnosed and not receiving the appropriate treatment, to be stuck in a vicious circle of suffering symptoms you don’t understand.

Signs and Symptoms you May not Know are PTSD

Unusual signs and symptoms of PTSD may go undiscovered for a long period of time or you may be wrongly diagnosed with different mental health issues. Thus the treatment provided may not give expected results. It is very important to be familiar with these signs of PTSD so you can keep an eye out for them.

Social Anxiety and Emotional Withdrawing

Sometimes the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people or fear of being negatively judged by other people can be one of the signs of PTSD. If you have difficulties interacting or communicating with others, this may be a result of your fear of coming in contact with anything that can remind you of trauma.

Also, feelings of detachment or estrangement from others may signal that you actually suffer from the post-traumatic stress disorder. Depression as one of the main symptoms of PTSD causes social withdrawal, isolation and lack of motivation. If you are avoiding people or activities you normally enjoy, including family and close friends, talk to your GP as you may be struggling with PTSP without knowing it.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

In a search for the ways to cope with the traumatic experience, a person may engage in behaviors of excessive drinking or drug abuse. This of course just causes the further problems and a deterioration of person’s overall well-being.

Eating Disorders

Abnormal or disrupted eating habits like anorexia nervosa may be one of the main symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. If you have experienced any drastic changes in your diet and appetite, talk to your health provider as this may lead to other serious health conditions.

Rapid Weight Loss

Some people with PTSD report having symptoms such as a rapid weight loss without trying, and even without the significant loss of appetite. At the same time, others may struggle with increased appetite and excessive eating.

Sensory Overload

According to some people that experienced trauma, sometimes one of the main symptoms of PTSD may be sensory overload. They report having a super sensitive sense of smell or hearing or troubles with distorted vision or hearing. For some people this sensory overload is so strong that it gets to the point of panic attack.

Excruciating Migraines with Horrifying Dreams

Some trauma survivors experience severe headaches and migraines as one of the main PTSD symptoms. The pain is often followed by nightmares so these people don’t get to rest even while they sleep. These symptoms often don’t get recognized as signs of PTSD and sometimes develop in further health problems.

If you have experienced or witnessed an extreme trauma, pay close attention to these atypical signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. They don’t have to emerge right after you survived trauma. Sometimes the symptoms may occur weeks or months after a traumatic experience. For most people post-traumatic stress disorder develops within about two to three months after the traumatic event. However, for some signs of PTSD don’t show up until months or years later.

When left untreated, the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can have a damaging impact on a person’s life. If you don’t receive the right treatment for PTSD symptoms, you are at risk of developing other mental health disorders or medical conditions.

Avatar Dana Carretta-Stein

Written by Dana Carretta-Stein

Dana Carretta-Stein is a therapist in Connecticut and New York who specializes in individual therapy.