Do you have PTSD? Common Symptoms and Causes

What is PTSD?  Symptoms and Causes

Do you wonder if you have PTSD?  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can develop after you have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.   PTSD can be caused by things like natural disasters, acts of violence, car crashes or other accidents.  There are many symptoms associated with PTSD, like reliving aspects of what happened or avoiding things that remind you of the event.  Some people experience physical symptoms similar to anxiety or panic attacks.

What is it Like to Have PTSD?

People with PTSD continue to have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings about the traumatic experience. Though the event itself may have taken place weeks, months or even years ago, the thoughts and feelings are fresh in the person’s mind. They may relive events through flashbacks or nightmares.

Often people feel isolated and detached from other people.  You may take great measures to avoid situations that may remind you of the traumatic event. You may even have strong, negative reactions to ordinary experiences that involve noises, odors, or an accidental touch.

Symptoms of PTSD

Symptoms of PTSD fall into four categories and can vary in severity from person to person.

  1. Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts can show up in many ways.  Involuntary memories, nightmares and flashbacks are commonly experienced by those with PTSD. These thoughts can be so vivid that it feels as if you are reliving the traumatic experience in the moment.

  1. Avoiding Situations

Many people with PTSD avoid any and all reminders of the traumatic event.  People, places, activities and situations may bring up disturbing memories and thoughts. You may also avoid conversations about the experience and lash out at those who ask if you want to talk about it.

  1. Distorted Ideas

It is common for those with PTSD to have distorted thoughts and beliefs about themselves or others.  These can look like “I am a bad person,” “I can’t trust anyone,” or “I should have died, not her.” As a result of these distortions, you may notice having less interest in activities you once enjoyed, or begin to feel detached or estranged from loved ones.

  1. Reactive Behavior

Reactive behavior associated with PTSD can include having angry outbursts, becoming easily irritable, or behaving recklessly or in a self-destructive way.  You might also notice being easily startled or having problems concentrating or sleeping.

Many people who experience a traumatic event may experience symptoms like these in the days following the event. However, people with PTSD will experience these symptoms for months and even years. PTSD often occurs with other related conditions, such as depression, substance use, memory problems, and other physical and mental health problems.

Get Help for PTSD

Hi, I’m Lisabeth Wotherspoon and if you or someone you know is living with PTSD and is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me. I specialize in treating PTSD with EMDR, a very effective therapy for trauma. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help. Please call 603-994-0114 for a free 15-minute consultation to see if we might be a good fit.

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