Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (2023)

Post-traumatic stress disorder, aka PTSD, is a serious mental health condition once attributed only to post-war veterans. Today, we know that it’s so much more.

Many of us are familiar with that near-miss feeling. Whether it’s a car that comes a little too close or a medical scare in the emergency room, that near-miss is a memorable experience.

When we go through a traumatic event, several systems in the body kick into high gear. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland both send out a rush of stress hormones, preparing us to fight, flee, or freeze.

When the danger passes, many people can move on and “shake it off,” so to speak. Yet for some of us, that feeling of being on high alert can persist for weeks, months, or even years, and occur alongside other symptoms.

If this resonates with you, know that you’re not alone. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not a rare condition, and with the right management plan, you can manage your symptoms.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a mental health condition that may occur as a result of witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event.

It wasadded as a diagnosisby the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1980.

People who live with PTSD experience an elevated “fight or flight” response. Perceived threats trigger their autonomic nervous system, which leads to chemical alternations in the brain. This creates a sense of danger and other symptoms, even when there is no actual threat or the threat is no longer present.

How common is PTSD?

Many people will experience a traumatic event without further complications, but a small percentage go on to develop PTSD.

In the United States,3.6%of adults — about 9 million people — meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

PTSD is more prevalent among those in high-stress working environments, like firefighters, first responders, police officers, and military veterans.

Thenumberof military veterans with PTSD varies by service era:

  • Operation Iraqi Freedom:11% to 20%, or about 11 to 20 out of every 100 veterans, lives with PTSD
  • Gulf War:12%, or 12 out of 100 veterans
  • Vietnam War:15%, or 15 out of 100 veterans

In addition,23%of women use Veterans Affairs (VA) services because of PTSD due to military sexual trauma (MST) during their time of service. Both men (38%) and women (55%) report PTSD due to sexual harassment while in the military.

Causes of PTSD

PTSD was formerly called “shell shock” or “battle fatigue syndrome,” and many people may be familiar with the condition through its association with war-time veterans.

However, PTSD can develop from a range of different scenarios. What ties them together is a real or perceived threat of danger, which may involve a possible loss of life.

Some PTSDcausesinclude:

  • natural disaster
  • crime violence
  • serious medical event
  • near-death experience
  • loss of a loved one
  • physical or sexual abuse
  • transportation accidents (car, plane, etc.)

In general, any stressful event where you feel fear, shock, horror, or helplessness can cause PTSD.

Risk factors of PTSD

Researchers still don’t know why some people develop PTSD and others do not. But there are a handful of factors that may increase the chances of diagnosis. Some of these include:

  • lack of a support network
  • history of other mental health conditions
  • past experiences of abuse, often in childhood
  • poor physical health
  • being female
  • getting physically hurt

Another factor that may contribute to PTSD is experiencing a stressful event after a traumatic event, such as getting a divorce shortly after a serious car accident.

Genetics might also play a role. In brain scans of people with PTSD,researchsuggests that the hippocampus — the part of the brain that deals with memories and emotional regulation — is smaller and shaped differently than in those without PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD

In the few days after a traumatic event, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, cry, or have difficulty focusing. Thesesymptomsdon’t necessarily point to a longer-term condition.

Symptoms of PTSD tend to last longer, disrupt your everyday activities, and negatively impact your overall quality of life. They usually surface within 3 months after the traumatic event, though they can arise at a later point as well.

Intrusion symptoms

These symptoms — referred to as re-experiencing symptoms in older versions of the DSM — are those that take you back to the trauma.

  • flashbacks or dissociative reactions
  • nightmares or distressing dreams
  • intense, unpleasant memories, images, or thoughts
  • emotional or physical distress when you think about the traumatic event

Avoidance symptoms

These symptoms or behaviors are exactly what they sound like. You will likely avoid anything that reminds you of the traumatic event, including:

  • people
  • places
  • situations

You might also avoid thinking and talking about the traumatic event.

For example, if you’re experiencing PTSD due to a car accident, you might avoid the place where the accident happened or avoid driving altogether.

Other external reminders can include sounds and smells.

Arousal and reactivity symptoms

This category of symptoms includes physical reactions to trauma or reminders of trauma. Examples include:

  • irritabilité
  • feeling on edge
  • difficulty with concentration
  • heightened startle response
  • sudden bursts of anger

Mood and cognition symptoms

Our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings are affected by our mood. Conversely, our moods are affected by our feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. Unhealthy thinking patterns can be a product of PTSD. Some of these include:

  • negative self-talk
  • feelings of guilt or self-blame
  • memory issues
  • lack of interest in things you love

Physical symptoms

Though not discussed in the newest version of the DSM, the physical symptoms of PTSD can mimic a panic attack. Some physical symptoms include:

  • sweating
  • shaking
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • chest pain
  • upset stomach
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • fatigue from nightmares or sleep disturbances

PTSD symptoms in children

Adults aren’t the only ones who get PTSD — it can occur at any age. In children, some of the symptoms of PTSD might be:

  • bedwetting
  • nightmares
  • increased clinginess with adults
  • expression of trauma through art or games

In the case of trauma from sexual abuse, children might exhibit:

  • low self-worth
  • fear, sadness, isolation
  • aggression
  • abnormal sexual behavior
  • self-harm
  • alcohol or drug abuse

Diagnosis of PTSD

For an accurate diagnosis of PTSD, certaincriteriamust be met.

  • You were exposed to or witnessed death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence.
  • You experience one or more intrusion symptoms, avoidance symptoms, reactivity symptoms, and mood and cognition symptoms.
  • Your symptoms have been present for at least 1 month.
  • Your symptoms cause difficulty in social or occupational settings.
  • Your symptoms are not related to medication, substance use, or illness.

If you’re experiencing any of these, consider reaching out to your healthcare professional, if available.

A physical exam might be performed during your evaluation to make sure a medical issue is not the cause of your symptoms. A psychological evaluation may also be done to discuss your signs and symptoms and the event or events that might have caused them.

You might also be asked to complete a questionnaire and answer questions about your personal and family history.

A primary care physician or healthcare professional will likely refer you to a specialist for further evaluation if needed. Only a mental health specialist — such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or clinical social worker — can accurately diagnose PTSD.

Treatment for PTSD

While there’s no way to prevent a traumatic event from occurring, there are ways to manage any symptoms that arise in the aftermath of a trauma.

Researchers have noted a few resilience factors, which are characteristics of people who can adapt and grow after trauma. These include:

  • the ability to reach out and seek support
  • success in developing coping strategies
  • a feeling of positivity around how they responded to their trauma

Those who practice “active coping,” in this way, may recover from PTSD more quickly.According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), some make a recovery within 6 months. For others, treatment may last several years.

Treatmentfor PTSD often includes a combination of psychotherapy and medication.


Research shows that psychotherapy, also known as a talk therapy, may be an effective treatment option for PTSD.

  • Cognitive processing therapy (CPT).This technique is used to help process a trauma, since many people aren’t able to process it directly after it happens. CPT can also help someone restructure their beliefs around what happened in more helpful ways.
  • Prolonged exposure therapy.This is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that involves gradually approaching trauma-related memories or situations that you’ve been avoiding since the event. This technique is done slowly, safely, and systematically. You might also learn breathing techniques to help manage your anxiety.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).EMDR uses gentle tones or tapes to interrupt thought patterns or beliefs.ResearchTrusted Sourceshows that it can reduce anxiety, depression, fatigue, and paranoia.


Some medications may have a positive impact on PTSD symptoms, like anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances.

TheAmerican Psychological Association (APA)recommends selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for the treatment of PTSD symptoms. The most commonly prescribed medications are:

  • paroxetine (Paxil)
  • fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • sertraline (Zoloft)

Other antidepressants, like venlafaxine (Effexor), might also help reduce symptoms.

Alternative therapies

PTSD is effectively managed with medications and psychotherapy. There are other strategies — known as complementary and alternative medicine — that you can try to help manage your symptoms. However, there’s not enough research to support their effectiveness.

If you’re interested in trying these complementary and alternative strategies, work closely with your doctor to discuss options.

Art therapy

Art therapycan help people with PTSD process traumatic events in a different way. Art can be a way to express how an individual is feeling when words are not enough.

Creative mediums like painting, drawing, coloring, and sculpture are often used in art therapy.

One 2017pilot studysuggests that art therapy eased symptoms of PTSD due to multiple or prolonged trauma, such as people who’d experienced early childhood trauma and refugees from different cultures.

Otherresearchsuggests that art therapy might help to reduce symptoms for combat-related PTSD and depression.

Yoga and meditation

A recentstudyhas found that yoga might be helpful for managing symptoms of PTSD. It works by increasing mindfulness and helping people feel grounded and safe in their body, as trauma can create a sense of detachment.

A2017 reviewTrusted Sourcesuggests that meditation and yoga are promising treatments for PTSD.

However, studies were small and more research is needed.

New research areas

There is emerging research into other strategies that might be helpful for symptoms of PTSD. However, there is not enough evidence to support these techniques, and none of the below substances are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat PTSD.

More research into these techniques is needed.


There’s a growing body of evidence in support of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, as in using controlled doses in a therapeutic setting.Researchshows that MDMA and psilocybin from “magic mushrooms” might help treat symptoms of PTSD and depression.

Other psychedelics show promising results for PTSD as well, such asLSD and ayahuasca, though they are still in the early research stage.


A newstudypublished in the American Journal of Psychiatry explored the effectiveness of ketamine for treating PTSD. In the study, some participants were given repeated doses of ketamine intravenously (IV), while others were given midazolam — a benzodiazepine that acts as a sedative and is often given before medical procedures and surgery.

More participants responded to IV infusions of ketamine over 2 weeks than those given midazolam.

Video games

Among veterans, there is someresearchTrusted Sourceto suggest that playing video games can reduce symptoms of PTSD.

It may help with adaptive coping, well-being and confidence, and a sense of “brotherhood” and companionship.

Emotional freedom technique (EFT)

In this technique, a trained therapist can help you tap certain parts of your hands, head, face, and collarbones while reciting a “setup statement” related to the traumatic event. For example, “Even though I vividly recall the horror of the car accident, I deeply love and accept myself.”

In session, you will be asked to rate the intensity of the event on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most intense. As treatment progresses, the goal is to reduce the emotional charge around the event to a lower number by “tapping in” a new belief.

ResearchTrusted Sourcehas shown that EFT tapping can help reduce anxiety, stress, and pain.

Self-care strategies

Recovery takes time, but having more tools in your toolkit certainly helps the process along. Here are somelifestyleadjustments you can make to support your treatment:

  • Educate yourself about PTSD.
  • Find a support group of people with PTSD.
  • Eat nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods.
  • Sleep at least 8 hours a night.
  • Talk about your triggers with loved ones.
  • Spend time out in nature or “greenspace.”
  • Get physical exercise, like walking or swimming.
  • Create a consistent meditation or yoga practice.

Remember, you don’t have to do this all at once. Try making little changes at a time. Take it one day at a time. Every little bit helps.


Beyond the traditional symptoms of PTSD, the condition may lead to complications, especially if left untreated.

These include:

  • work difficulties
  • strained relationships
  • increased risk of heart problems
  • higher risk of chronic disease
  • chronic pain

Prolonged stress can also decrease immune system function, which can lead someone with PTSD to experience more frequent infections, like the cold and flu.

Coexisting conditions

Over the long term, PTSD may lead to changes in the structure of the brain, due to a decrease in size of the hippocampus — the part of the brain that helps regulate emotions and memory.

People who live with PTSD may also experience the following conditions:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • substance use
  • trouble de la personnalité

Living with PTSD

When you live with PTSD, every day can feel like a silent battle.

Life may suddenly be divided into two distinct chapters — before the trauma, and after it — and it’s difficult to put any of it into words.

Maybe you don’t quite feel like “you.” Perhaps you’re set off by little things, scared to do the activities you used to love, or unsure how to relate to people at home or work anymore.

Each of us responds differently to trauma, and no two experiences are alike. But when things feel out of sorts, something that can help us all is knowing that we’re not alone.

Even if the people around you don’t quite understand what you’re going through, there are people out there who do. Reading about other people’s journeys with PTSD may help you feel less isolated in your experience.

Resources and support

If you’re ready to find support, theAnxiety & Depression Association of Americaand theInternational Society for Traumatic Stress Studiescan help you locate a mental health professional who specializes in trauma.

For inpatient services or treatment facilities, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSA) offers aBehavioral Health Services Locator.

ThePTSD Coach appprovides education about PTSD, a self-assessment tool, and tools to manage symptoms.

Other places where you can find support include:

Helping someone with PTSD

If someone you love is living with PTSD, it’s normal to want to reach out and help. But when it comes to PTSD, it can be difficult to know how to support them.

If you think a loved one could be experiencing PTSD, there are ways you can offer support. The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers some helpful guides:

Be sure to fill your own cup and seek out the support of a trusted friend or therapist.

For more information, tips, and general support, download thePTSD Family Coach app.

Let’s recap

PTSD is a complex mental health condition, but it’s treatable with psychotherapy, medication, and complementary treatments.

All of us experience trauma differently, but that doesn’t mean you have to go through this alone. There are support groups, articles, apps, hotlines, and mental health professionals ready to support you at every step.

You can support your treatment efforts with a balanced, mindful lifestyle — get plenty of rest, try to exercise, and eat nutrient-dense foods.

As you navigate PTSD, be patient with yourself and your loved ones. Recovery time is different for everyone, but you’re well on your way already.

And finally, most importantly, there is always —always— hope.


What is post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD answer? ›

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it.

Why is it so hard to get a PTSD diagnosis? ›

The diagnosis of PTSD may be difficult to make for many reasons. Patients may not recognize the link between their symptoms and an experienced traumatic event; patients may be unwilling to disclose the event; or the presentation may be obscured by depression, substance abuse, or other comorbidities.

Why is PTSD so hard to deal with? ›

PTSD is hard to treat

Instead of feeling like a normal memory, trauma memories feel like they are still happening, right now in the present. At the same time, the brain stays in fight or flight mode, constantly feeling threatened even when the person is safe.

What do I say to get PTSD disability? ›

What can I say to get a higher PTSD rating?
  • Panic attacks.
  • Hypervigilance.
  • Depression.
  • Lack of self-care, or proper hygiene.
  • Grossly inappropriate behavior.
  • Chronic sleep issues.
  • Issues with executive function.
  • Suicidal thoughts, or suicidal ideation.
Aug 29, 2022

What do you say at a PTSD exam? ›

Be honest about your PTSD symptoms, even embarrassing ones; Provide as much detail about your PTSD symptoms as possible; Take time to consider each question before providing an answer; and. Describe specific instances where your PTSD symptoms affected your daily life.

Is post-traumatic stress disorder a disability? ›

The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers post-traumatic stress disorder a disability. It falls under the category of trauma and stressor-related disorders.

Is 100% PTSD hard to get? ›

The max rating is 100%, but this is hard to get. A lot of veterans end up with a 70% rating and unemployability because they cannot work. The VA will use a C&P exam to help them determine what the appropriate rating is. A veteran should review the PTSD rating criteria that VA uses.

How hard is it to get 100% PTSD? ›

A 100% PTSD rating is often difficult to obtain through VA because it requires a veteran's symptoms to be so severe that he or she is totally impaired and unable to function in every day life. While the symptoms listed in the 70% rating criteria involve a high level of impairment, the jump to 100% remains significant.

What percentage does PTSD get you? ›

What is the Average VA Disability Rating for PTSD? On average, most veterans who receive VA disability for their service-connected PTSD are rated at the 70 percent level.

What do people with PTSD struggle with? ›

Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. They may also have problems sleeping, such as insomnia, and find concentrating difficult.

What is the hardest part of PTSD? ›

5 of the Worst PTSD Symptoms (And How to Beat Them)
  • PTSD Symptom #1: Panic or Anxiety Attacks.
  • PTSD Symptom #2: Hypervigilance (Feeling on Edge)
  • PTSD Symptom #3: Avoidance of People and Places.
  • PTSD Symptom #4: Nightmares or Other Sleep Issues.
  • PTSD Symptom #5: Intrusive Memories or Flashbacks.
Apr 12, 2019

Do people with PTSD cry easily? ›

Scientists believe that crying can make you feel physically and emotionally better. 'Having a good cry' is thought to rid the body of toxins and waste products which build up during times of elevated stress – so it's logical then that a person with PTSD may cry much more often that someone without the condition!

How do I win my PTSD claim? ›

These tips can help you increase your odds of a successful outcome.
  1. Have a Qualified Medical Professional Write Your Nexus Letter. ...
  2. Gather Multiple Buddy Statements. ...
  3. Be Honest and Provide Clear Details During Your C&P Exam. ...
  4. Submit Applicable Private Medical Evidence. ...
  5. Get Help From an Experienced Attorney.

How do I get permanent disability for PTSD? ›

There are two ways for Social Security to find you disabled based on PTSD.
You must show that:
  1. Your PTSD has been serious and persistent over a period of at least two years.
  2. You are undergoing ongoing medical treatment, mental health therapy, or living in a highly structured or protected setting, and.

How much does Social Security pay for PTSD? ›

People with PTSD victimized during childhood might receive SSI and the typical $794 monthly amount. PTSD recipients of SSDI might receive more or less than the average $1,258 monthly check if the trauma occurred later or earlier in their adult life.

How do doctors confirm PTSD? ›

Criteria for Diagnosis

To receive a diagnosis of PTSD, a person must have at least one re-experiencing symptom, at least three avoidance symptoms, at least two negative alterations in mood and cognition, and at least two hyperarousal symptoms for a minimum of one month.

How many PTSD claims get denied? ›

If you are here because you have been denied veterans' benefits for PTSD, you are not alone. In 2012, the VA claimed its own claims error rate was 14%. However, the VA's own inspector general found a claims error rate of 38%.

How do I explain my PTSD to my doctor? ›

Talk to your doctor about the traumatic event and your feelings. Describe any scary memories, depression, trouble sleeping, or anger. Let them know if these problems keep you from doing everyday things and living your life.

Can you get money for having PTSD? ›

You may be eligible for disability benefits if you have symptoms related to a traumatic event (the “stressor”) or your experience with the stressor is related to the PTSD symptoms, and you meet all of these requirements.

Can you work with post-traumatic stress disorder? ›

For too many people living with PTSD, it is not possible to work while struggling with its symptoms and complications. Some people do continue to work and are able to function for a period of time. They may have milder symptoms or be more able to hide their negative emotions and thoughts from others.

How much disability can you get for PTSD and anxiety? ›

A VA disability rating for PTSD is based on statutes that outline what symptoms meet which level of disability. PTSD is only rated at 10%, 30%, 50%, 70% or 100%. It's important to be as honest as you can with the VA examiners about the severity of your symptoms.

Is 50% for PTSD good? ›

PTSD is rated on a scale from 0% to 100%, with breaks at 10%, 30%, 50%, and 70%. The average VA rating for PTSD is 70% and a total of 91.5% of veterans with a PTSD rating are If you're wondering how to get a 70% PTSD rating, you're not alone.

What qualifies for 50% PTSD? ›

To qualify for the automatic 50% PTSD rating a veteran must be discharged from active service as a result of their PTSD. The veteran must be experiencing enough symptoms that they cannot carry out their military duties, AND those symptoms must have been caused or worsened by a stressor or event during active service.

What does 30% PTSD mean? ›

A 30% rating means you have mild symptoms that may come and go, depending on your stress level. At the 30% rating medication and therapy can be effective at mitigating symptoms. A 50% rating applies when your PTSD causes more pronounced problems at work and in your daily life.

Is 70% PTSD a permanent VA disability? ›

The veteran's total disability due to PTSD is permanent with no likelihood of improvement. The 100 percent rating for PTSD is total, permanent, and static in nature.

Can I claim anxiety secondary to PTSD? ›

Veterans with PTSD offer suffer from additional mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. However, a Veteran can't receive compensation for the same symptoms twice.

How bad is 70 PTSD rating? ›

A 70% rating for PTSD is the second-highest rating the law allows for PTSD. The rating indicates that it is difficult for a veteran to lead a normal life in all areas including work, school, and family. They are also likely to experience problems with their judgment and their emotions.

Who suffers from PTSD the most? ›

Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men. About 8 of every 100 women (or 8%) and 4 of every 100 men (or 4%) will have PTSD at some point in their life. This is in part due to the types of traumatic events that women are more likely to experience—such as sexual assault—compared to men.

Can you work with 100 PTSD? ›

With the 100 percent combined disability rating, you do not have any restrictions on work activity. If you meet the 100 percent rating for your service-connected condition, and you are still able to work, then you may do so.

When does PTSD rating become permanent? ›

A PTSD disability rating may become permanent and total if VA determines that it meets the 100 percent criteria set forth by the rating schedule and there is zero chance of improvement.

Are people with PTSD hard to love? ›

Trauma survivors with PTSD may have trouble with their close family relationships or friendships. The symptoms of PTSD can cause problems with trust, closeness, communication, and problem solving. These problems may affect the way the survivor acts with others.

What do people with PTSD avoid? ›

Avoiding reminders—like places, people, sounds or smells—of a trauma is called behavioral avoidance. For example: A combat Veteran may stop watching the news or using social media because of stories or posts about war or current military events.

Can someone with PTSD fall in love? ›

Yes, a man with PTSD can fall in love and be in a relationship. PTSD does present its own set of challenges, such as the man feeling like he is unlovable, but if two dedicated partners work hard enough, they can conquer those emotions.

What does PTSD look like in a woman? ›

Women with PTSD may be more likely than men with PTSD to: Be easily startled. Have more trouble feeling emotions or feel numb. Avoid things that remind them of the trauma.

What is the mildest form of PTSD? ›

Uncomplicated PTSD is linked to one major traumatic event, versus multiple events, and is the easiest form of PTSD to treat. Symptoms of uncomplicated PTSD include: avoidance of trauma reminders, nightmares, flashbacks to the event, irritability, mood changes and changes in relationships.

Why does PTSD feel so bad? ›

As with most mental health problems, PTSD is probably caused by a complex mix of: Stressful experiences, including the amount and severity of trauma you've gone through in your life. Inherited mental health risks, such as a family history of anxiety and depression.

What does a PTSD episode look like? ›

vivid flashbacks (feeling like the trauma is happening right now) intrusive thoughts or images. nightmares. intense distress at real or symbolic reminders of the trauma.

Do people with PTSD talk to themselves? ›

What mental disorder makes you talk to yourself? Self-talk can be a symptom of a number of mental illnesses. It can be a sign of an anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. More severe mental illnesses associated with self-talk include schizophrenia and psychosis.

What happens when you yell at someone with PTSD? ›

Such an interaction could likely cause stress. And yelling can be a trigger for PTSD. However, if you do not have PTSD, making this comment can be insensitive to those with the condition. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, PTSD is a disorder in the DSM-5.

What are examples of PTSD lay statements? ›

[Insert Veteran's Name]'s PTSD symptoms have persisted, and he still experiences symptoms today. I believe that his post-traumatic stress disorder resulted from the mental stress of combat and active duty. I certify that the statements on this form are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.”

What is an example of grossly inappropriate behavior PTSD? ›

As it often is accompanied by severe PTSD, symptoms, and behaviors could be self-harm and intermittent suicidal thoughts. Grossly inappropriate behavior could include intermittent memory loss, suicidal ideation, or the persistent danger of hurting yourself or others.

Is it too late to claim PTSD? ›

No matter when symptoms develop or if you've had them for a long time, it's never too late to seek treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How does PTSD limit your ability to work? ›

Now, symptoms of PTSD can interfere with the individual's ability to work in numerous ways. These include memory problems, lack of concentration, poor relationships with coworkers, trouble staying awake, fear, anxiety, panic attacks, emotional outbursts while at work, flashbacks, and absenteeism.

Can you collect SSI for PTSD? ›

Yes, it is possible to receive Social Security Disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but you must meet certain requirements, including proper medical documentation.

Does PTSD cause memory loss? ›

But one of the most pervasive symptoms of PTSD is not directly related to emotions at all: individuals suffering from a stress-related disorder experience cognitive difficulties ranging from memory loss to an impaired ability to learn new things.

What benefits do people with PTSD get? ›

Workers who have PTSD could pursue benefits through their employer's workers' compensation insurance or Social Security disability. If you meet the specific requirements, you could collect the benefit payments you need to pay for medical treatment and supplement your lost wages.

What does PTSD do to a person? ›

Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. They may also have problems sleeping, such as insomnia, and find concentrating difficult.

What are the 5 signs of PTSD? ›

This can include:
  • panicking when reminded of the trauma.
  • being easily upset or angry.
  • extreme alertness, also sometimes called 'hypervigilance'
  • disturbed sleep or a lack of sleep.
  • irritability or aggressive behaviour.
  • finding it hard to concentrate – including on simple or everyday tasks.
  • being jumpy or easily startled.

What happens when a person with PTSD is triggered? ›

If someone has PTSD, it may cause changes in their thinking and mood. They may suffer from recurrent, intrusive memories. Upsetting dreams, flashbacks, negative thoughts, and hopelessness are also common. Experiencing PTSD triggers may cause the symptoms to become worse or reoccur frequently.

What is PTSD symptoms and explanation? ›

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (complex PTSD, sometimes abbreviated to c-PTSD or CPTSD) is a condition where you experience some symptoms of PTSD along with some additional symptoms, such as: difficulty controlling your emotions. feeling very angry or distrustful towards the world.

What behaviors do people with PTSD have? ›

The main symptoms and behaviours associated with PTSD and complex PTSD include: Reliving the experience through flashbacks, intrusive memories, or nightmares. Overwhelming emotions with the flashbacks, memories, or nightmares. Not being able to feel emotions or feeling “numb”

Do people with PTSD know they have it? ›

People can have PTSD even though they do not recall the experience that triggered the problem. As a result, such people may live with PTSD for years without realizing it.

How do PTSD people feel? ›

A person with PTSD has four main types of difficulties: Re-living the traumatic event through unwanted and recurring memories, flashbacks or vivid nightmares. There may be intense emotional or physical reactions when reminded of the event including sweating, heart palpitations, anxiety or panic.

Why do people with PTSD push you away? ›

If you find that your loved one is pushing you away when you try to communicate with them or show support, it may be because those experiencing PTSD often: Find it difficult to regulate emotions. Distance/isolate themselves from others. Experience intimacy challenges.

What sets off a person with PTSD? ›

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

What can a PTSD trigger look like? ›

Triggers can include sights, sounds, smells, or thoughts that remind you of the traumatic event in some way. Some PTSD triggers are obvious, such as seeing a news report of an assault. Others are less clear. For example, if you were attacked on a sunny day, seeing a bright blue sky might make you upset.

What not to do with someone with PTSD? ›

  • Give easy answers or blithely tell your loved one everything is going to be okay.
  • Stop your loved one from talking about their feelings or fears.
  • Offer unsolicited advice or tell your loved one what they “should” do.
  • Blame all of your relationship or family problems on your loved one's PTSD.
Feb 24, 2023

How do you know if you are traumatized? ›

Suffering from severe fear, anxiety, or depression. Unable to form close, satisfying relationships. Experiencing terrifying memories, nightmares, or flashbacks. Avoiding more and more anything that reminds you of the trauma.

What are the 17 symptoms of complex PTSD? ›

The 17 Symptoms of PTSD
  • Vivid Flashbacks. A PTSD flashback is when you relive your traumatic experience, and it feels like it is happening all over again right in that moment. ...
  • Nightmares. ...
  • Self-Isolation. ...
  • Depression. ...
  • Substance Abuse. ...
  • Emotional Avoidance. ...
  • Feeling on Edge, or Hyperarousal. ...
  • Memory Loss.
Feb 1, 2021


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Author: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Last Updated: 16/11/2023

Views: 6162

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Author information

Name: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Birthday: 1998-01-29

Address: Apt. 611 3357 Yong Plain, West Audra, IL 70053

Phone: +5819954278378

Job: Construction Director

Hobby: Embroidery, Creative writing, Shopping, Driving, Stand-up comedy, Coffee roasting, Scrapbooking

Introduction: My name is Dr. Pierre Goyette, I am a enchanting, powerful, jolly, rich, graceful, colorful, zany person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.