PTSD Red Flags: How Do I Know If I Have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

man crying during a therapy session

Post-traumatic disorder, more commonly known as PTSD, is basically a psychological disorder that certain individuals develop. These individuals are usually those who have experienced a particularly troubling and distressing situation, such as military veterans, but it can actually affect individuals regardless of age, work experience, gender, race, etc.

For instance, individuals may develop PTSD following a sexual assault or rape, an auto accident, or a natural disaster. It comes with a host of symptoms that differ in severity, particularly based on which traumatic incident first triggered the symptoms.

The Primary Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

You can experience symptoms at different times, even three to six months following the traumatic incident. Your symptoms may also come and go. Unfortunately for some, PTSD can become chronic, while for others, symptoms might go away with treatment.

These symptoms include the following:

  • Re-experiencing Symptoms – This includes recurrent flashbacks of the traumatic event. You might experience petrifying thoughts and dreams at different times of the day.
  • Mood and Cognition Symptoms – This includes having a problem recalling crucial details of the traumatic event, losing the feeling of enjoyment you get from activities you used to love, feeling alienated from family and friends, and feeling inexplicable and unreasonable guilt over what you experienced.
  • Avoidance Symptoms – You might try with all your might to avoid triggers that could potentially bring on your symptoms, causing you to withdraw from everything and everyone around you.
  • Hyperarousal Symptoms – This involves always being vigilant and on guard trying to spot potential danger everywhere. You may likewise have problems sleeping, be easily frightened by loud sounds, and have trouble concentrating.

How PTSD is Diagnosed

woman holding her head while at the clinicWhen seeking a diagnosis of PTSD, it is immensely crucial to understand that trauma alone isn’t enough to result in post-traumatic stress disorder. With this in mind, if you are experiencing all of the abovementioned symptoms for a month or more, you should tell your doctor or go straight to a mental health professional that has extensive experience diagnosing PTSD.

During the psych exam, you will be asked to describe all of your symptoms in great detail. You will answer a questionnaire and asked how your symptoms are affecting your daily life.

How PTSD is Treated

If you got a post-traumatic disorder diagnosis, you would be prescribed a carefully crafted combination of treatments. This treatment plan will include cognitive behaviorally therapy or CBT, also called talk therapy, where you’ll work with your CBT therapist in Westport, Connecticut to recall the traumatic incident and how you feel about it so you can be desensitized to it and resolve your symptoms. CBT is usually recommended alongside joining PTSD support groups, and medications like antidepressants, sleep aids, and anti-anxiety meds, based on your specific situation.

Do note that you may find yourself experiencing symptoms on and off without any warning, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that your treatment plan isn’t working. Just make certain to inform your therapist. Additionally, tell your therapist or seek help if you are thinking of suicide or are feeling severely depressed.

Considering that plenty of individuals suffering from PTSD feel unreasonably ashamed or embarrassed of their condition, refrain from going inward and really attempt to try and tell your therapist every time your symptoms re-appear, regardless of whether or not you’re undergoing any treatments.

About Faye Gonzales 1658 Articles
Meet our chief explorer, Faye Gonzales. With over a decade of travel experience, Faye is not only a passionate globetrotter but also a loving mom who understands the unique needs of family travelers. Her insights into family-friendly destinations and travel tips make her a trusted guide for parents seeking memorable adventures with their children.