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What is PTSD?

What is PTSD?

PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

From MayoClinic.Org:


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.

Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD.

From my perspective:

The worst part of experiencing an event so traumatic is that it literally impacts and changes your entire life from the moment of that event. Everything after that is determined by how much that trauma has changed you. For a child still in development, trauma changes everything, how you grow emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically, and even how you relate to everyone in your life and everyone thereafter and the worst part, you have no idea how someone without trauma is supposed to act, think, or be.

One of the first things I said to my therapist was that having been a toddler, I know have no idea who I was before or who I was going to be, before. And if your life is faced with more than one trauma, every traumatic event changes you even more. My first trauma – toddler, my second trauma -3, my third trauma – 5, and so on until I was well into adulthood.

How common is PTSD?

Well, how common is abuse? How common is child abandonment? How common is rape? If you think about, everyone who has gone through these personal traumas not to mention war and murder, all of these are capable of causing trauma to the psyche of the victim.

What are the symptoms or signs of PTSD?

From MayoClinic.Org:


Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event


Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Feeling detached from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb

Changes in physical and emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame

For children 6 years old and younger, signs and symptoms may also include:

  • Re-enacting the traumatic event or aspects of the traumatic event through play
  • Frightening dreams that may or may not include aspects of the traumatic event

Intensity of symptoms

PTSD symptoms can vary in intensity over time. You may have more PTSD symptoms when you’re stressed in general, or when you come across reminders of what you went through. For example, you may hear a car backfire and relive combat experiences. Or you may see a report on the news about a sexual assault and feel overcome by memories of your own assault.

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