What are the symptoms of PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder can look very different from individual to individual. Some people have a very low level of functioning while others can continue their work and social lives as usual. Two common symptoms are intrusive flashbacks and nightmares. Although the instigating trauma may have occurred very long ago, the sufferer will relive the experience as though it is happening in real-time.

Those suffering from PTSD might also use avoidance tactics in order to evade triggering locations or interactions. For instance, if you were in a traumatic car accident, you might avoid highways or even decide not to drive at all.

Another common symptom is a generally high level of irritability or anger. People with post-traumatic stress disorder may have frequent outbursts in reaction to seemingly trivial events. It is important for family and friends to recognize that this “hyper-arousal” is not personal, but a manifestation of the disorder.