Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (cont.)
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Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be terrifying. They may disrupt your life and make it hard to continue with your daily activities. It may be hard just to get through the day.
PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not happen until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years. If the symptoms last longer than 4 weeks, cause you great distress, or interfere with your work or home life, you probably have PTSD.
Even if you always have some symptoms, counseling can help you cope. Your symptoms don't have to interfere with your everyday activities, work, and relationships.
Most people who go through a traumatic event have some symptoms at the beginning but don't develop PTSD.
There are four types of symptoms:
Reliving the event
Bad memories of the traumatic event can come back at any time. You may feel the same fear and horror you did when the event took place. You may feel like you're going through the event again. This is called a flashback. Sometimes there is a trigger: a sound or sight that causes you to relive the event. Triggers might include:
Avoiding situations that remind you of the event
You may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You may even avoid talking or thinking about the event.
You may find it hard to express your feelings. This is another way to avoid memories.
Feeling keyed up
You may be alert and on the lookout for danger. This is known as increased emotional arousal. It can cause you to:
Other symptoms also may include:
PTSD in children and teens
Children can have PTSD too. They may have the symptoms listed above and/or symptoms that depend on how old they are. As children get older, their symptoms are more like those of adults.
If you think you or a loved one has symptoms of PTSD, see your doctor right away. Fill out this form(What is a PDF document?) and take it to your doctor. Treatment can work, and early treatment may help reduce long-term symptoms.2
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