Mental Health Disorders such as PTSD affect more than just your thoughts and feelings. Your daily routines, personal and professional relationships, and overall enjoyment of life can suffer when you let your mental health illness go untreated. Seeking treatment from a Licensed Clinical Psychologist is the key to addressing your Mental Health Disorder and finding both relief from and treatment for the symptoms that have taken hold of your life.
If you live with PTSD, it will continue to affect your life until you start treatment with a Skilled Psychologist. That’s why it’s important to recognize the common signs and symptoms of PTSD you should never ignore. With these symptoms in mind, you can recognize the issue and pursue the professional treatment you deserve.
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a Mental Health Condition that you can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. While everyone experiences stress after trauma, individuals with PTSD continue to feel the effects of that trauma for months or even years after the traumatic experience.
Flashbacks, feelings of guilt or hopelessness, self-destructive behaviors, and other physical and mental PTSD symptoms become more prevalent—and more harmful—without treatment. If you suffer from PTSD, it’s important to see a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who will develop a personal and effective treatment plan to help you work through your trauma and the symptoms that stem from it.
Common Signs and Symptoms
Trauma affects everybody differently. There is no way to predict how the mind will react to frightening or dangerous situations. Likewise, everyone who experiences PTSD faces different challenges. However, there are a few general symptoms that affect many individuals with PTSD. Learning about the common signs and symptoms of PTSD listed below will help you better understand what you’re going through so that you can pursue the professional help you need.
Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD revolve around re-experiencing a traumatic event. These symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, and other types of intrusive memories. These reoccurring and unwanted memories can cause you to relive your trauma, creating severe distress and even creating or worsening other PTSD symptoms. Many people experience physical reactions to these intrusive memories, including an elevated heart rate, sweating, and trouble sleeping.
You might also experience severe distress or physical reactions to words, objects, places, and other triggers that remind you of your traumatic experience. These reactions are upsetting and unpredictable. If they occur often enough, they can disrupt your everyday routine and create additional challenges for you and your loved ones.
Ignoring these flashbacks and the challenges they create won’t make them go away. Instead, the intrusive memories and their symptoms will become more severe and create more problems over time. Undergoing treatment from a Licensed Clinical Psychologist is the key to curing PTSD and overcoming the distressing memories from your trauma.
After witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event, it’s normal to want to avoid things that remind you of the event. However, completely ignoring trauma leads to avoidance symptoms that can make your condition worse.
Avoidance behaviors might be as straightforward as trying not to think or speak about your trauma. You might also do your best to avoid places, people, activities, and other things that remind you of the traumatic experience. These behaviors can prevent you from processing what happened and create additional stress and challenges in your daily routine.
Other avoidance symptoms run deeper than conscious decisions, though. Avoidance behaviors might also make it difficult to remember details about the traumatic event, which in turn makes it harder for you to work through and heal from your trauma.
Detachment and Emotional Numbing
Like many Mental Health Disorders, PTSD can cause you to isolate yourself from others. The aforementioned avoidance behaviors, along with other symptoms, can cause feelings of detachment and numbing that lead to self-isolation, loneliness, and other negative feelings.
Detachment can cause individuals with PTSD to try to withdraw from loved ones, which makes it difficult to build or maintain relationships. You might also avoid or no longer feel pleasure in activities you once enjoyed. Detachment and emotional numbing are also symptoms of depression, which can coincide with PTSD.
Trouble Focusing and Memory Problems
Not all PTSD symptoms are focused on the trauma itself. Individuals with PTSD might experience issues with memory and concentration. An inability to focus, general memory issues, and similar problems might not feel like they’re connected to your PTSD but seeing a Skilled Psychologist will help you overcome these symptoms.
Hyperarousal symptoms influence your physical and emotional reactions and can seriously affect your daily routine. Hyperarousal, or hypervigilance, puts your body on high alert in response to thinking about or re-experiencing memories of your trauma. This hypervigilant state creates both physical and emotional stress, even when there is no danger present. For example, the famous “fight or flight” danger response is a result of hyperarousal and can occur even when you’re in normal, safe situations.
Hyperarousal symptoms include feeling tense or afraid, being easily startled, and experiencing outbursts of frustration or anger. Individuals experiencing hyperarousal might be more aggressive or irritable than usual. Hyperarousal can also lead to difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
There are many reasons why individuals with PTSD turn to self-destructive behaviors. Some harmful behaviors are a direct result of other symptoms of PTSD. For example, if you have PTSD because of a bad car accident, you might feel tense or irritable when you get behind the wheel. These feelings—along with a desire to stop driving as quickly as possible—might lead you to speed or drive aggressively, which puts yourself, your passengers, and other drivers in danger.
Others might turn to harmful behaviors in a maladaptive attempt to cope with the symptoms of their PTSD. Substance abuse, self-harm, and other destructive behaviors are examples of maladaptive coping techniques that only serve to make the issue worse.
Don’t Ignore Symptoms—Get Help
The symptoms of PTSD damage relationships, increase daily stress, and lower your overall quality of life, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. With the help of a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, you can obtain evidence-based treatment that is tailored to your unique symptoms, needs, and experiences. When you’re ready to find the help you deserve, turn to the Trauma Psychologists at Blair Wellness Group. We’ll build a specialized treatment plan that achieves your clinical goals so that you can experience confidence, control, and happiness in your life again.