6-5-2017 Clarinda Iowa


From: The Signs and Symptoms of PTSD by Catherine Roberts


June is PTSD awareness month. According to mental health professionals, post-traumatic stress disorder (or PTSD) is a mental condition that results in a series of emotional and physical reactions in individuals who have either witnessed or experienced a traumatic event.

Events that cause the individual to fear for personal life and wellbeing—such as a car collision or other accident, a physical or sexual assault, long term abuse, torture, a natural disaster, living in a war zone, or life-altering experiences like the death of a loved one—can all spur the following PTDS symptoms:


Physical Pain

PTSD will often begin with a series of common physical ailments—such as headaches or migraines, dizziness, fatigue, chest pain, breathing difficulties, and stomach or digestive issues.


Nightmares or Flashbacks

It’s very common for those with PTSD to suffer nightmares or flashbacks—a symptom known as re-experiencing—in which the patient suddenly and vividly re-lives the traumatic event in a repetitive manner. Re-experiencing can enter dreams or come on suddenly in waking images or sensations of physical and emotional pain and fear.  It may cause both children and adult sufferers to have sleeping difficulties and anxiety leaving the safety of home.


Depression or Anxiety

Mental phobias, which professionals deem as irrational and persistent fear and avoidance of certain objects or situations can cause extreme anxiety in PTSD sufferers to the point where it causes paranoia and depression.



Avoidance of any physical or mental stimuli that reminds them of a past traumatic event can be typical of PTSD. For example, those involved in tragic car collisions may avoid driving and commuting in a car whatsoever.  It could also cause particular avoidances of places or people or places that are reminiscent of the traumatic experience.



Both adult and children PTSD patients with solid social lives and interests may suddenly lose interest in favorite hobbies, activities, and friends that they used to be very passionate about. Seeking out risky behavior can also be a form of escapism through drug or alcohol abuse, or thrill seeking.



Repression, or the intentional blockage of memories associated with a past event or experience is also a symptom of PTSD. The patient may destroy pictures or memorabilia of a time in their life or attempt to distracting themselves by throwing themselves into work.


Emotional Numbing

It’s very common for those with PTSD to try to numb their feelings. After all, it’s hard to suffer pain when you don’t feel any emotion at all. Emotional numbing often leads to the gradual withdrawal and eventually the complete isolated from social circles.



It’s common for those with PTSD to suffer jitters so sever that it becomes impossible to relax due to the fear of threats. These individuals can be characterized as “on edge” and “jumpy” or easily frightened.



This state of constant fear and paranoia can cause extreme PTSD-associated irritability, indecisiveness, and a total lack of concentration, sleeplessness, and difficulty maintaining personal relationships.


Guilt and Shame

Those PTSD patients who can’t get past their negative experience may find it difficult to move forward and maintain a healthy life. They may blame themselves and constantly relive the event, wondering how they could have prevented it. Often immense shame and guilt will set in if they blame themselves for the tragedy.



If you are concerned about whether you may have PTSD, go to: and take the PTSD Self test



Communication with your health care provider is the best thing you can do if you have PTSD. Drug and alcohol abuse are common complications to PTSD. Suicidal or homicidal thoughts can occur with PTSD. Contact your doctor or mental health specialist immediately if you experience any of the following: depression, feeling overwhelmed, inability to control your thoughts or behavior, and if you’re thinking of harming yourself or others.


This information was provided by staff at Southwest Iowa Famiies, Inc.


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