What Is PTSD?

It doesn't just affect veterans, anyone can have it. Don't be left in the dark, learn to identify the symptoms properly.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) is a mental health condition that may develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Trauma is subjective and has to be taken on a case by case basis. Generally, trauma is considered to be a psychological or emotional response to an event that interferes with an individuals ability to cope.


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has been used for over 10 years. It is published by The American Psychiatric Association (APA). A group of psychiatrists who are dedicated to understanding mental illness and providing professionals in the field of psychiatry with the tools they need to understand and diagnose patients. In addition to being exposed to a traumatizing event, the revised DSM-5 now recognizes 20 symptoms instead of 17, lasting longer than a month for a PTSD diagnosis.

The symptoms are broken into four categories:

Intrusive thoughts

  • Having frequent involuntary and unexpected memories of the traumatic event.

  • Disturbing dreams related to the event.

  • Having flashbacks, or having experiences that cause you to feel you are reliving the traumatic event.

  • Being triggered by internal or external means that remind you of the event causing distress.

  • Uncomfortable bodily reactions caused by the triggering of a memory of the event. Examples include body armoring and increased heart rate.

Avoiding reminders

  • An aversion to thoughts that remind you of the event, or feelings that bring up the unpleasant memories of the event.

  • Avoiding people, places, things, situations or events, that bring up memories of the traumatic event

Negative thoughts or feelings

  • Self-loathing and negative self-talk. Such as, "I am broken", or "No one can be trusted".

  • Detachment to circumstances surrounding the event. having an inability to recall important details about the traumatic event.

  • Increased feelings of shame and anger. Blaming self or others about the circumstances leading to the traumatic event and its consequences.

  • Loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy. Feeling incapable of experiencing positive emotions.

Arousal and reactive symptoms

  • Issues with concentration

  • Easily startled, hyper-vigilant, or a constant feeling of unease based on the sense danger is inevitable.

  • Reckless behavior that may result in self-sabotage

  • Irritability or aggressive behavior

  • Problems sleeping

Getting Help

Undiagnosed PTSD can have long-term effects on your health and your quality of life. With proper treatment, you can avoid or reduce some of the common pitfalls survivors face and gain a better understanding of the condition.

If you believe you're experiencing symptoms of PTSD it is important to seek help. Screen Yourself at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America's site, and take the next steps in finding a therapist today.

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