If you’ve experienced a traumatic event, it’s normal to feel scared, confused, or overwhelmed. But for some people, these feelings don’t go away – they might even get worse over time. If this is the case for you, you may have developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Some people may experience very intense symptoms while others may only have mild ones. And in some cases, symptoms might not appear until months or even years after the traumatic event occurred.
Here are some signs that you may have PTSD:
Reliving Trauma Through Flashbacks
One of the most common signs of PTSD is reliving the traumatic event through flashbacks. A flashback is like a vivid nightmare that can happen during the day. It can be triggered by anything – a sound, a smell, or even a certain place. When it happens, you may feel like you’re actually back in the middle of the trauma, feeling all the same fear and emotions you felt at the time.
Avoiding Things That Remind You of the Trauma
It’s also common for people with PTSD to try to avoid anything that reminds them of the traumatic event. This may mean avoiding places, people, or activities that trigger memories of the trauma. For example, someone who was in a car accident may avoid driving or getting in a car. Or someone who was assaulted may avoid being in crowds or going to places where they don’t feel safe.
Negative Changes in Thoughts and Feelings
PTSD can also cause negative changes in your thoughts and feelings. For example, you may start feeling hopeless about the future or lose interest in things you used to enjoy. You may also feel detached from other people like you can’t trust anyone. And you may have a hard time experiencing positive emotions, like happiness or love.
Nightmares and Trouble Sleeping
People with PTSD often have trouble sleeping. This may be because they’re reliving the trauma in their nightmares or simply because they’re so on edge and anxious that they can’t relax enough to fall asleep. This can cause a snowball effect with the other symptoms as a lack of sleep can make it even harder to cope with stress and manage your emotions.
Constantly Feeling On Edge
People with PTSD may also experience what’s called hyperarousal. This means feeling on edge all the time as if you’re in danger even when you’re not. You might have a hard time concentrating or sleeping, and you may be easily startled.
Full Body Stress Response
Your body may also react to trauma in a physical way. This is sometimes called the full body stress response. For example, you might have a hard time breathing, your heart might race, or you might start sweating. You might also feel like you’re in danger even when you’re not, causing the brain to activate the “fight or flight” response by flooding the body with stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.
BestMind Can Help
PTSD can be a difficult disorder to live with, but you don’t have to face it alone. BestMind Behavioral Health is here to help you receive the treatment you need to heal and move on with your life. We offer a variety of therapies that are designed to specifically address the symptoms of PTSD, and our experienced staff is committed to providing compassionate care. If you’re ready to take the first step towards recovery, please contact us today. We’re here to help you on your journey to wellness.