Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Signs and Symptoms

Global News : Thursday, June 25, 2009 12:00 AM

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that sometimes develops after exposure to an extremely stressful or life-threatening event — usually involving death or serious injury. Symptoms first appear soon after the event or even months or years later. People who suffer PTSD experience great distress that interferes with their lives, at home and at work.

PTSD symptoms fall into four categories:

Re-living the event

Memories of the traumatic event haunt the victim for months or even years. He might even experience the same fear and horror he did when the event occurred. Sometimes these flashbacks are triggered by a sight or sound. Witnessing a car accident, for example, could bring back memories of an accident he experienced. The sufferer sometimes relives the event through dreams.


The victim avoids talking or thinking about the event and also steer clear of situations that remind him of it. For example, a person who was robbed at gunpoint while eating at Wendy’s might avoid fast-food restaurants or refuse to eat hamburgers. In some cases, this aversion is so intense it becomes a kind of phobia. Many victims refuse to seek help because they don’t want to think or talk about the traumatic event.


The victim feels detached or estranged from others. He is unable to have loving feelings and often avoids close relationships for that reason. He is not interested in activities he once enjoyed. In some cases, he forgets much of the traumatic event.


The victim is jittery or always on the lookout for danger. This causes him to have a hard time sleeping and concentrating. He is irritable and prone to sudden outbursts of anger. He is always on “high alert,” looking out for danger.


Sufferers might also develop drinking or drug problems, a feeling of hopelessness, shame or despair. He often has problems keeping jobs and relationships.

Copyright (c) CW Media Inc.

Read it on Global News: National | Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Signs and Symptoms


5 Responses to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Signs and Symptoms

  1. Jack says:

    Although not a VET, I have battled PTSD for years. It is not easy for any of us to get the proper help. My heart breaks for those who have lived in war zones, with their lives on the line…it’s more than time the country stood up to offer the best help possible to all those who battle this brutal affliction.

  2. Jack, thanks for your comment, and Margaret, this is a song everyone can enjoy. Thank you.


  3. I suffer extreme PTSD. And I thought my symptoms were getting worse. But I discovered a former neighbour was trying to increase my anxiety. He claims he was just practising a play. He has been stalking me and my family. I have called the police. How do others cope with this kind of situation? Any advice would be helpful.

  4. Bonnie Toews says:

    Margaret, this is absolutely unacceptable behaviour on your neighbor’s part. What did the police say? So often, their hands are tied until an actual crime has been committed. Still, stalking nowadays is a criminal offence. If you don’t mind, I am going to post your question on the Facebook group’s page where the volunteer psychologist keeps vets up-to-date on how to handle PTSD problems. FB address: Blog:

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