After experiencing a traumatic incident, whether it’s abuse, the loss of a loved one or an accident, it’s normal to feel a plethora of strong emotions. Sadness, anger and fear are not uncommon ones. But when these emotions persist, become overwhelming and lead to anxiety and depression, this is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is a serious mental health condition that needs attention.
It’s important to learn how to recognize the symptoms of this diagnosis in yourself and in others so that professional assistance can be found swiftly. Here are some key symptoms you should recognize.
1. Heightened Anxiety or Depressive Symptoms
One set of symptoms that is extremely common after experiencing a traumatic event is feeling particularly anxious or “on edge.” This might manifest in being jumpy, easily irritable, having troubles falling asleep and being unable to concentrate. Needless to say, this hypervigilance can be extremely exhausting and lead to further mental health complications if not addressed properly.
Image: Leo Hidalgo
2. Flashbacks or Reliving Traumatic Experiences
Another set of symptoms to look out for in PTSD are flashbacks or reliving of the traumatic experiences that were endured. A certain “trigger” (ie: people, places or situations) can cause an individual to feel as though they are living through the traumatic circumstance again, resulting in panic, anxiety, increased heart rate and quickened breath. Individuals might also relive their experience by having nightmares or negative thoughts.
Often as a result of reliving these negative circumstances, an individual living with PTSD might find themselves avoiding situations, people or places to avoid these feelings. This can lead to unhealthy isolation or negative association to things that are otherwise harmless. People living with PTSD might also avoid their feelings and symptoms which can hinder proper recovery or development of appropriate coping mechanisms. Instead, it’s important to address negative feelings after living through a traumatic incident so that PTSD is addressed in a healthy way.
Feature Image: jon madison