Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health condition that can be triggered by exposure to traumatic events and has some serious side effects. The symptoms start after the person has experienced the traumatic event, and the brain goes through neurochemical changes that affect how you feel. The principal thing about PTSD is that it doesn’t just go away. Many people go through a traumatic event, but it’s what happens after that makes it PTSD.

The problem is that it isn’t always easy to spot the indicators of this disorder as PTSD symptoms appear a few weeks or months after the event happened and physical reactions manifest in the later stage. This leads many people to ask, “How can you tell if someone has PTSD?”

Whether it’s someone you love or yourself, here is more on what you need to know about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We’ll look at the effects and how to get help from our residential PTSD treatment center.

A man in uniform who’s experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms

The Effects of PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has distinct effects, and there are many. They can range from nightmares and flashbacks to cognitive delays. Some people who develop PTSD from sexual assault had eating disorders or experience minimized verbal memory capacity. The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-IV) showcases approximately 18 key signs of PTSD. The thing is, everyone is unique. That means while one person may get a few of the effects, someone else may get entirely different effects. It is also uncommon for someone to have all 18 signs.

There are five categories of PTSD symptoms, known as clusters. In the past, researchers shared three categories. Yet, in an updated version of DSM, they changed it to five. These five categories are:

A Traumatic Event Becomes A Stressor

The trauma exposed the person to life-threatening severe illness or injury. Threatened or actual violence or injury happened. In this cluster, doctors require one of the following.

  • Witnessing a trauma
  • Direct exposure to trauma like childhood abuse, a car accident, or sexual assault
  • Learning a loved one experienced trauma
  • Exposure through work, like a first responder

Intrusion Symptoms

This is when the person who experienced the traumatic event relives it through their thoughts and memories. In this section, therapists require one of the following symptoms.

  • Nightmares
  • Experiencing triggers and physical symptoms to being exposed to reminders
  • Flashbacks that are accompanied by physical sensations such as heart racing, sweating, and feeling dizzy or faint
  • Intense and distressing memories


This is when the individual tries to avoid all thoughts of the traumatic event or trauma. This cluster requires one of the following.

  • Avoiding emotions or negative thoughts about the trauma
  • Avoiding external reminders of the event

Unpleasant Changes to Mood or Thoughts

This cluster requires two of the below mood symptoms.

  • Feelings of isolation
  • Blaming others or oneself for the trauma
  • Negative effects and difficulty feeling positive
  • Decreased interest in things that were once enjoyable
  • Difficulty feeling positive
  • Inability to remember the trauma clearly

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Changes in Reactivity

In this section, therapists require two of the following arousal symptoms of PTSD. This cluster happens when the individual is easily reactive to experiences. Think of someone easily startled or hypervigilant.

  • Difficulty with sleep: either staying asleep or insomnia
  • Irritability or aggression
  • Engaging in risky or destructive behavior
  • Hyperawareness or hypervigilance
  • Heightened startle response
  • Difficulty concentrating in day to day life

In all the sections, the individual must be experiencing symptoms that last at least 30 days. They also must have symptoms that cause functional impairment or distress.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD symptoms concept image

How Do You Tell if Someone Has PTSD?

Having a mental health professional diagnosis is crucial, yet there are signs that someone is suffering from PTSD. These signs alert you to something being wrong, even if you’re not aware of the trauma the person experienced.

The eight most common indicators of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are:

  1. Reliving the trauma. Some individuals have distressing memories and thoughts about the event. They may try to avoid this, but the thoughts and feelings related to the traumatic experience are persistent.
  2. Sleep problems. Sleep difficulties can be from several issues, but they are also an indicator of developing PTSD. Especially when combined with other indicators.
  3. Chronic anxiety. Hypervigilance, staying on guard, and having trouble with relaxation are some indicators.
  4. Anger. An individual with PTSD may experience frequent irritability and outbursts of anger.
  5. Depression. It is not rare for those with PTSD to experience depression, too. Some may lose interest in things that previously brought them joy or do serious injury to themselves due to being depressed.
  6. Disconnection and numbness. There is often a disconnect between others and the individual who’s diagnosed with PTSD. They still love their family and friends but feel numb and hopeless.
  7. Suicidal thoughts. These suicidal thoughts may be passive or active. Passive thoughts include thinking others would be better off without you. Active thoughts include thinking of buying a gun or how you would do it.
  8. Feeling unsafe. The person with this indicator feels doom or fear even when nothing warrants those feelings.

The American Psychiatric Association’s criteria for PTSD include those eight criteria. And by their rules, you must meet all eight of them to get a PTSD diagnosis. Fortunately, we can help you with treatment after a PTSD diagnosis.

A mental health professional talks with a soldier about his PTSD

PTSD Treatment is Crucial for Anyone Suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

For anyone suffering with PTSD, mental health treatment is crucial. PTSD causes devastating effects that harm the person’s well-being and those around them. While it affects relationships and mental well-being, it also causes physical and health issues.

According to Very Well Mind:

Studies have found that compared to those without PTSD, people with PTSD are more likely to experience health problems including:

  • Arthritis
  • Heart-related problems and disease
  • Respiratory system-related problems and disease
  • Stomach aches, digestive problems, and disease
  • Reproductive system-related problems
  • Diabetes
  • Pain

Join Us at Our PTSD Treatment Center in Morriston, Florida

A PTSD treatment center uses a variety of tools to ensure better healing. Many of those ways are with psychotherapy. Other means include holistic treatment, medication, and even equine therapy for PTSD. Each person gets an individual tailored approach to their treatment that lasts for a month or more because every person’s PTSD stems from different trauma with unique symptoms.

Transformation at Mending Fences is a trusted mental health treatment clinic in Morriston FL. Offering residential mental health treatment and PHP rehab for those who develop PTSD, addiction, and other mental health problems. If you or a person you love has difficulties with post-traumatic stress disorder, reach out to us so we can help.