POST TRAUMATIC STRESS SYNDROME- Overview, Facts, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Medications


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that occurs when someone is experiencing and witnessing terrifying situations. It causes an individual to experience flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts about the situation.

Individuals undergoing this kind of trauma may have temporary difficulty in adjusting and coping to it, but with proper self care and with time, they can improve. If the symptoms get worse, or if they last for months or even years, and if they interfere with daily life functioning, you may have PTSD.



Symptoms of PTSD will get noticed months or years after a traumatic event. PTSD symptoms can cause you to limit usual life activities and daily tasks such as social or work activities and you may also have difficulties in forming relationships with other people.

There are four types of PTSD symptoms that vary over time and from person to person:

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Continual, discarded distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Displeasing dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Thinking ofthe traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Terrible emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event


Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • You are avoiding to talk and thinkabout your traumatic experience
  • Avoidingpeople, activities or places that make you remember those terrifying situations




Negative changes in thought and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thought and mood may include:

  • Lack of interest in activities you are enjoying before
  • Difficulty in experiencing positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally insensitive
  • Despair about the future
  • Certain memory problems
  • Difficulty in keeping close relationships
  • Feeling separated from family and friends
  • Thinking negative thoughts about other people,the world and yourself

Changes in physical and emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Sleeping problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Startled or scared easily
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Irritability, angry outbursts, bad temper or aggressive behavior

Intensity of symptoms

PTSD symptoms will become intense when you are generally stressed or when an event reminds you of what you went through.


To diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder, your doctor will likely:

  • Perform a physical exam.
  • Do a psychological evaluation.
  • Use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association

To effectively diagnose PTSD, you will be exposed to an actual event of possible threat of death, violence or serious injury.

If these exposures will continue for months, further making you unable to function in social and work settings and also negatively affecting relationships, you likely have PTSD.


To effectively treat PTSD, you will undergo psychotherapy along with medications to regain a sense of control over your feelings and improve your symptoms.


Several types of psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, may be used to treat children and adults with PTSD. Some types of psychotherapy used in PTSD treatment include:

  • Cognitive therapy
  • Exposure therapy
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Stress management skills


Several types of medications can help improve symptoms of PTSD:

  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Prazosin

Don’t ever treat PTSD all by yourself. Consider going to a health care professional. To find out what medications may best work for your situation, talk to your doctor.

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