If you have been exposed to or directly experienced something traumatic, if you have had a family member or close friend that died accidentally or violently, or if you have repeatedly faced a situation that involves violence, death or despair, you may be suffering from the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Symptoms include:
- Suddenly and unpredictably remembering all or part of the event(s).
- Experiencing nightmares or dreams related to the trauma.
- Flashbacks to the traumatic event where you feel or act as if the trauma was still occurring.
- Severe emotional distress when internal or external cues remind you of the traumatic event.
- Physical symptoms like nausea, vomiting, extreme fatigue, etc. when internal or external cues remind you of the trauma.
- Avoiding places, people are activities that might remind you of the trauma.
- Changes in mood including feeling very fearful, angry or shameful.
- Decreased interest in activities that once brought you joy.
- Feeling like you are having an “out of body” experience.
- Feeling like “the whole world is dangerous” or that you are no longer a good or trustworthy person.
- Irritability and problems with concentration.
- Being easily startled.
- Trouble sleeping.
Symptoms of PTSD can present immediately following a traumatic event or can present months or even years after the event initially occurred. People like police officers and emergency responders can witness multiple events that are difficult and life threatening and not develop PTSD. However, even after years of experiencing these situations, PTSD can develop after a single traumatic event. PTSD effects children and adults and effects both males and females. The CDC estimates there that around 8% of the US population will develop PTSD in their lifetime. Children who are abused or neglected are much more likely to develop PTSD. Adults who are in abusive or controlling relationships are also at greater risk for developing PTSD.
Medication and therapy can help most people achieve complete remission of PTSD symptoms.