Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
When PTSD manifests itself in a person, the first symptoms usually happen within the first three months. Many times, it could be believed that the person is having “survivor’s syndrome,” which is the guilt that a person may feel if they came through a traumatic event unharmed or alive. However, if a person’s symptoms do not go away on their own or if they intensify, PTSD is likely.
There is no average time length or normal benchmark in symptoms associated with PTSD. The illness can be severe or it can be manageable. It has been known to disappear within months as well as be experienced in other people for years.
The symptoms of PTSD are grouped into three main categories:
- Re-living the Experience: These symptoms occur when a person happens to continually go through the thoughts and memories they associate with their trauma. A person who re-lives their ordeal can experience flashbacks, hallucinations and may have nightmares. In addition, a person may also experience panic and stress about objects or situations associated with the trauma, such as news stories, pictures, or the date the event occurred on.
- Avoidance Behavior: These symptoms occur in people who have phobias as well as people who have PTSD. Avoidance behavior occurs when a person associates events, objects, people, or places with their traumatic experience and thus will avoid the object or place completely. This can lead to a decrease in the quality of life the person feels as well as lead to feelings of isolation and detachment from people or activities they once enjoyed.
- Increased Arousal: A person who has PTSD may be “over the top” in their emotions. They are either one way or the other on an emotional scale and there is very little time they spend “being in between.” They can have problems relating to others and can have problems with showing or feeling affection. Their moods tend to be very bi-polar, either they are “way up” or “way down.” In addition, there can be other physical symptoms experienced, including nervousness, sleeplessness, high blood pressure and heart rate, shortness of breath, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhea.
If a child experiences PTSD, they may experience problems in their normal development and show symptoms normally exhibited by autistic children, such as delayed toilet training, motor skills, and language ability.