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What are some signs of post-traumatic stress disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is a mental health condition that can affect individuals who have experienced traumatic events. It can manifest in various ways after a catastrophic injury.

Understanding the common signs of PTSD is important for anyone wondering if they have this problem.

Intrusive memories

One hallmark sign of PTSD is the presence of intrusive memories related to the traumatic event. These memories can manifest as flashbacks, nightmares or distressing thoughts that intrude upon daily life. Individuals may feel as though they are reliving the traumatic experience, causing significant emotional distress.

Avoidance and numbing

Individuals with PTSD may actively avoid reminders of the traumatic event. This avoidance can extend to places, people, conversations or activities that cause distressing memories. They may also experience emotional numbing, feeling detached from their surroundings or losing interest in previously enjoyable activities.


Hyperarousal is another common symptom of PTSD. It involves sensitivity to potential threats, leading to increased irritability, difficulty sleeping and a heightened startle response. Individuals may feel constantly on edge and experience physical symptoms like racing heartbeats.

Altered reactions to situations

People with PTSD may exhibit altered reactions to everyday situations. They might become more easily startled, aggressive or have difficulty concentrating and making decisions. These changes in behavior can impact their personal and professional relationships.

Persistent symptoms

It is important to note that symptoms of PTSD must cause significant impairment in daily functioning to warrant a diagnosis. While some individuals may experience acute stress reactions immediately after a traumatic event, these usually subside within a few weeks. PTSD symptoms, on the other hand, are persistent and intense.

Delayed onset

PTSD symptoms may not appear immediately after the traumatic event. In some cases, there is a delayed onset, with symptoms emerging months or even years later.

Recognizing the common signs of PTSD is important for identifying those in need of help and support. With about 5 out of 100 American adults struggling with PTSD, letting people know they are not alone is paramount. If you or someone you know is exhibiting these signs, seeking professional help from mental health experts is important to address and manage PTSD effectively.