One of the hardest aspects of dealing with any mental illness is diagnosing it correctly in the first place. For many people, the symptoms develop slowly over time making it difficult to spot early on; and the longer you’re dealing with mental issues like anxiety or depression, the harder it becomes to treat.
So how can you tell if you’re suffering from PTSD and what can you do about it? While everyone is slightly different in how and why they develop PTSD and the symptoms it causes them to display, here’s our list of the most common signs you should be looking out for:
1. A change in behaviour or mood following a traumatic incident
- usually occurs within the first month after the event
- delays in change extending to several years are sometimes possible
- symptoms may develop slowly and take time to become noticeable
2. PTSD sufferers can relive traumatic events through
- vivid flashbacks
- visualisation of upsetting images that may be directly or loosely connected to the event
3. Physical symptoms that accompany thoughts of the incident can include
- general pain
- specifically located pain
- shaking or twitching
- perspiring excessively
- stomach aches and cramps
- chest pains and palpitations
- self-harming (including overuse of alcohol, prescription medications, illegal drugs or physical harm)
4. Negative emotions that can impact day to day activities:
- shame or guilt can be common (sufferers will ask themselves why a particular event happened to them or whether they could have prevented it)
5. Avoidance and withdrawl:
- avoidance of friends and family associated with the event
- avoidance of places and actions that bring back memories
- becoming introvert and isolated
- no longer enjoying or taking part in hobbies and activities they enjoy
PTSD can cause a person to develop a state known as ‘hyper-arousal’ when their senses and emotions can become alert and uncontrollable. The side effects of this state include:
- general irritability
- aggressive and angry eruptions
- problems sleeping (insomnia can be common)
- memory loss (particularly short term)
7. Other mental health issues can also develop, such as:
Do You Fit the Bill?
You might not be displaying all of the symptoms listed here, and you might have a few that haven’t been mentioned, but if you’re suffering from PTSD you’ll probably recognise a few on this page. If so, it’s time to speak out and get help.
If you don’t want to talk to a relative, friend or colleague about the problems you’re experiencing, we can help. Get in touch with us at Call4Backup on 0300 121 0 999 or firstname.lastname@example.org for friendly advice and understanding support.
We’ve got your back.
Author: Fiona Galloway