PTSD Symptoms

After a life-threatening situation, many people may suffer for a long time, in some cases, their condition is so persistent and debilitating that it causes a painful disorder called PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is characterized by recurring obsessive memories of a shocking traumatic event that begins up to 6 months after the event and persists for more than a month. [1] The pathophysiology of PTSD is not fully understood.

Typically, events that can trigger PTSD give rise to feelings of helplessness, fear, or terror. These events can be experienced directly (for example, patients have been seriously injured or in mortal danger in the past) or indirectly (for example, patients have witnessed others being killed, seriously injured, or learned about events that happened to close relatives or friends). War, sexual assault, and natural disasters are common causes of PTSD.

The prevalence of PTSD is close to 9%, in a 12-month period. And according to mass-data acquisition, the prevalence of all groups in the population is about 4%.

Common Symptoms of PTSD

Symptoms of PTSD can be grouped into the following categories: intrusive and distortion symptoms, symptoms of avoidance, detrimental changes in cognitive abilities and mood, arousal and reactivity changes.[2] Patients most frequently have unpleasant flashbacks and repeats of the originating incident. It is normal to dream about this occurrence over and over again.

Dissociative states are less prevalent, in which experiences are perceived as though they were true. Just like the initiating occurrence, this may cause the individual to react vehemently. For example, sudden loud noise can trigger combat memory and this can immediately make them seek shelter for protection or fall close to the ground. Patients find the sensations related to trauma difficult to avoid and frequently feel mentally numb in their everyday activities.

Symptoms are sometimes a quick progression of an acute stress disorder or can occur on their own after the event for up to 6 months. The full onset of clinical manifestations is often deferred and only starts a few months or sometimes years after the traumatic incident. Anxiety disorders, drug abuse, and depression are common in patients with chronic PTSD.  [3] At the same time, patients may feel bad for their behavior during the incident, in addition to traumatic anxiety, or sometimes equate this with the fact that they survived and others close to them died.

The symptoms experienced based on their category are explained below.