According to the National Institute of Mental Health, "PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger and avoid it. This "fight-or-flight" response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger."
There are variations of PTSD within its onset and duration. The event triggering PTSD may be dangerous, but also may be sudden, such as the loss of a loved one. PTSD can be long-term (chronic) or short-term (acute) and the onset of symptoms may begin within the first few months of trauma or occur many years later. Only a doctor who has experience helping people with mental illnesses, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist may diagnose PTSD.
An adult must exhibit all of the following symptoms for at least one month in order to be diagnosed with PTSD:
1. At least one re-experiencing symptom
2. At least one avoidance symptom
3. At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
4. At least two cognition and mood symptoms
Re-experiencing symptoms include:
3. Scary thoughts
Avoidance symptoms include:
1. Avoiding places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
2. Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
Arousal and reactivity symptoms include:
1. Being easily startled
2. Feelings of anxiety
3. Difficulty sleeping
4. Angry outbursts
Cognition and mood symptoms include:
1. Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
2. Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
3. Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
4. Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
If you believe you have PTSD, it is important to seek the help of a professional doctor immediately.
*For more information about PTSD, please refer to https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml