PTSD Basics: What are the symptoms

Posted by Bonnie Hillman - Trikologist on on Nov 26th 2018

We here at Trikaroo honor our Veterans and Military family. We are a Veteran owned and operated business. Most of our families are filled with the history of service to our country.  With this in mind the sharing of information is needed so that people who have served feel less alone in their lives.

There's a stigma that's happening across our country about mental health.  Those who are in need of help often feel a shame or guilt about getting the medical or talk therapy that they require.  They can feel judged and alone and many times their own family isn't supportive.  Let's educate ourselves a bit to understand that not all illnesses or traumas are as visible as a broken leg.

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or CPTSD (complex post traumatic stress disorder) are mental health problems that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life threatening event, like a natural disaster, sexual assault, combat, or a vehicle accident.

While it's normal to have memories that are upsetting, having trouble sleeping, or feel on edge after a traumatic event.  It's not something that should last for more than a few weeks or months. PTSD symptoms may start directly after the event or may resurface years later.  In some cases, children for example, the symptoms can come when they have transitioned into adults.

Here's a short video to help you or your family to understand the symptoms and know when to get help:

*Video compliments of the National Center for PTSD

There are four types of PTSD symptoms, but they are not the same for everyone.

  • Reliving the event (re-experiencing)
    • Nightmares
    • Flashbacks: Reliving it again as if it were in the moment
    • Trigger: You may see, hear, or smell something that brings you back to that moment.Examples of triggers: news reports, seeing an accident, hearing a gunshot or a car backfiring, being exposed to movies or television with the theme of your trauma
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the event.  You may try to avoid people or situations that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You may even avoid speaking or thinking about the event
    • Avoiding crowds, they can often feel dangerous 
    • Avoid driving
    • Avoidance by keeping yourself busy to you don't have time to think or to ask for help
  • Negative views or changes in beliefs and feelings
    • The way you think about others and yourself can change.  Loving feelings can disappear.  You may begin distancing yourself.
    • You may forget the event or parts of the event/events.  You can forget for years.  Your mind is a powerful machine that tries to help you function.
    • Trust can come hard.  The view of your reality can swiftly change and the world can become a dangerous place to be.
  • Hyper-arousal or feeling keyed up.  Can cause jitters, a feeling of being in immediate danger.  Anger and irritability are common and often you snap into these emotions quickly and seemingly for no reason
    • Hard time sleeping
    • Trouble concentrating
    • Being startled easily and multiple times 
    • Need to be with your back against the wall and facing the door so you can anticipate danger

Anybody can develop PTSD or CPTSD at any age for a number of reasons.  Stress can make the PTSD more likly to have re-occurrence. Support from family or friends or friends who become family can make the symptoms of PTSD easier to cope with.  Choose kindness.