Symptoms & Signs of PTSD Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop in people who live through traumatic or distressing events. While some people experience an acute response lasting a few days or weeks, other people feel a longer and more impactful response, leading to PTSD. How Trauma Leads to PTSD Trauma is a psychological response to a stressful event or situation.In addition, traumatic events cause intense emotional suffering that can linger long past the event itself. Also, some examples of traumatic events that can trigger PTSD include: \tPhysical or sexual assault \tLiving through a natural disaster \tLiving in a war zone \tYou are emotionally or physically neglected or abused \tBeing a victim of domestic violence \tBeing involved in military combat \tWitnessing a traumatic event The Four Categories of PTSD Symptoms The symptoms of PTSD are categorized in four different ways. These categories\u2014and their symptoms\u2014relate to ways in which people suffering from PTSD try to protect themselves from further trauma. It\u2019s common to have some of these symptoms after living through a traumatic event. For most people, the symptoms fade after a few days or weeks. For some, however, the symptoms persist and may even intensify over time. Depending on the length and pattern of symptoms, this may result in a PTSD diagnosis. Arousal and Reactivity Symptoms Normally, the body\u2019s fight-or-flight response activates in times of stress. In people with PTSD, this response activates much more easily. PTSD symptoms in this category include: \tHypervigilance, a state in which someone is constantly on the lookout for danger, and often overreacts to loud noises and other startling sensations \tEmotional outbursts, especially of anger \tInability to concentrate \tInsomnia and\/or other sleep disturbances \tFeelings of tension or edginess that never seem to go away \tSeparation anxiety Memories or thoughts about the event can trigger symptoms. They can cause anger, stress and exhaustion. Avoidance Symptoms People with PTSD tend to avoid thinking about the trauma they experienced. This may mean they: \tAvoid places, people or things that are related in some way to the trauma or that trigger memories of the trauma \tAvoid feelings and thoughts that trigger memories of the event Avoidance symptoms affect someone\u2019s daily routine or overall quality of life. For instance, if someone is present at a gas station robbery, they might avoid the place where it happened. Someone who is involved in a car accident might avoid driving or being in a car at all. Cognition and Mood Symptoms Cognition and mood symptoms include changes in thoughts, beliefs and emotions that have a negative impact on your overall outlook of life. These thoughts may make you feel isolated from family and friends. Some examples of cognition and mood symptoms include: \tInability to take pleasure in activities that you once enjoyed \tInability to experience or express positive emotions \tHaving negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world in general \tDistortion of feelings such as blame, shame or guilt \tDifficulty remembering the events that triggered the trauma Re-Experiencing Symptoms PTSD sufferers may relive the traumatic event that first triggered their PTSD. \u201cRe-living\u201d can take different forms, such as: \tNightmares \tFlashbacks, which may trigger physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking or a rapid heart rate \tFrightening and\/or intrusive thoughts about the event These symptoms are often triggered by the person\u2019s own thoughts and emotions. In other cases, words, people, places, objects or situations can also activate symptoms. Other Symptoms of PTSD People with PTSD can experience a range of other symptoms, including: \tTension headaches \tDigestive problems \tChronic pain \tAnxiety and\/or panic attacks People with PTSD may also develop co-occurring disorders such as anxiety and depression, alcohol or drug abuse or addiction or eating disorders. PTSD Diagnosis It\u2019s normal to have emotional or physical symptoms after experiencing a traumatic event. If the symptoms last for more than a few weeks, it may be an indication of PTSD. Someone may be\u00a0diagnosed with PTSD\u00a0if they have: \t1 or more symptoms in the avoidance category \t1 or more symptoms in the re-experiencing category \t2 or more symptoms in the arousal category \t2 or more symptoms in the cognition and mood category \tSymptoms that have lasted 1 month or more Treatment Options for PTSD PTSD is typically treated with therapy, medication or a combination of both. Therapy There are several kinds of talk therapy that can be helpful for those suffering from PTSD. Many people also benefit from attending post-traumatic stress disorder support groups. Therapy options for PTSD include: \tCognitive restructuring:\u00a0People with PTSD often have distorted or incomplete memories about the trauma they lived through. In this kind of therapy, the therapist helps you make sense of your memories. \tExposure therapy:\u00a0Fear of the trauma underlies of many of the symptoms of PTSD. Exposure therapy helps you face your fears and work on making them more manageable. Medication The most common class of medication prescribed for PTSD is\u00a0antidepressants. These are prescribed to help manage feelings such as sadness, anxiety and anger common in stress disorders. Other medications may be prescribed to treat specific mental health symptoms of PTSD. For instance, a drug called\u00a0Prazosin\u00a0is sometimes prescribed to treat nightmares and sleep disturbances. Get Help for PTSD with Promises Treatment Centers Having PTSD can make you feel isolated, afraid and hopeless. But you don\u2019t have to feel that way forever. Getting treatment can help you deal with your trauma and start living life more fully. Promises Treatment Centers\u00a0offers residential and outpatient treatment for people suffering from PTSD, including people with co-occurring disorders. Our compassionate and experienced mental health professionals can help you start down the road to recovery. If you\u2019re living with PTSD, or you know someone who is, don\u2019t wait to seek help. Promises Treatment Centers offer evidence-based and alternative treatments that may be able to help you move forward with your life.