Clients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) experience symptoms in a myriad of individualized ways. But some similarities in their symptoms are shared by all survivors.
SYMPTOMS OF PTSD
After the traumatic event, survivors report the following characteristics:
1. Distressing memories of the trauma
2. Dreams related to the event
3. Flashbacks of the experience
4. Avoidance of stimuli associated with the event (I.e., a survivor of a catastrophic car accident may choose not to drive or even to travel in a car; a sexual assault survivor may avoid approaching the neighborhood in which she was attacked.)
Other symptoms include a negative alteration in cognition and mood, People who may have been high functioning and coping well with typical life struggles may find it difficult to combat depressive moods, panic or anxiety, and may experience difficulties in concentration and memory. It’s not uncommon for survivors to report being unable to remember important aspects of the traumatic event. Calm, passive imdividuals can become quick-tempered or even exhibit verbal or physical aggression. Difficulties with sleep, emotional regulation, fatigue and somatic complaints often plague survirors.
Next week: Treatment and recovery from PTSD.