It can be difficult to cope immediately after a car crash, assault, or other traumatic event. However, for some people, this can turn into a chronic condition called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Here at Boston Neurobehavioral Associates, we have years of experience diagnosing and treating PTSD so you can get back to your normal life. With offices throughout the Greater Boston area, we’re here to support you every step of the way.
If you’re not sure whether you might have PTSD following a traumatic experience, here are five common signs to look out for.
1. You’ve experienced a traumatic event
Post-traumatic stress disorder is caused by exposure to severe trauma that can lead to debilitating symptoms that affect your daily life. Traumatic experiences that can trigger PTSD include but are not limited to:
- Military service
- A violent accident, including car crashes
- An assault, including sexual assault
- Long-term childhood abuse
Many people have symptoms such as having trouble sleeping or anxiety right after a traumatic experience. However, if your symptoms last longer than a month, it might warrant a diagnosis of PTSD.
2. You’re having repeated flashbacks and nightmares
After a traumatic experience, many people find themselves experiencing intrusive memories of the experience in the form of flashbacks and nightmares.
Flashbacks occur during the day and can leave you feeling like you’re back at the scene of a traumatic experience. Nightmares may involve specific traumatic memories but may sometimes appear unrelated at first.
Regardless, reexperiencing these traumatic feelings can leave you feeling exhausted, anxious, and fearful.
3. You avoid things that remind you of your trauma
While coping with intrusive flashbacks and nightmares, it makes sense that people with PTSD would want to avoid any further reminders of a traumatic experience. For many people, that means avoiding the scene of the event, people who may have been involved, and anything that could remind you of it.
However, it can also lead to you avoiding other people and activities in general, leading to even more isolation.
4. Your moods are lower than usual
Some people with PTSD get misdiagnosed with depression because PTSD can also cause persistent low mood. This can lead to feelings of hopelessness, despair, numbness, guilt, or shame.
For many people, this also leads to persistent negative thoughts such as:
- The world is dangerous
- No one is trustworthy
- I’m worthless or damaged
5. You find yourself more alert and easily startled
Many people find that PTSD can lead to them feeling more on-edge, guarded, and alert. This is often referred to as hypervigilance and may take the form of being jumpy, easy to startle, or scared of sudden movements and sounds.
For other people with PTSD, they may find their emotions become more intense, leading to angry outbursts, depressive moments, and extreme irritability. Generally, this is because PTSD leads your brain to be stuck in a state of fight-or-flight, which can cause you to be more reactive and hypervigilant.
While PTSD is a challenging condition, there are effective treatments so you can move forward with your life. Depending on your symptoms, Dr. Mohammad Munir may recommend antidepressant medications, lifestyle changes, and therapy.
To find out whether you might have PTSD, speak to a member of our team by calling any of our offices or requesting an online appointment today.