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PTSD – different types, symptoms and causes

PTSD is a shortcut which refers to post – traumatic stress disorder. When we have a traumatic experience, then it is normal to feel disconnected, anxious, sad and frightened. But if you feel stuck with a constant sense of painful memories and danger and the upset does not fade, then you may be suffering from PTSD. This condition can seem like you will never feel again normal or you will never get over what happened. You should reach for treatment because in this way you will not allow the PTSD to take control over your life. This condition can develop following any event which makes you fear for your safety [1]. Most people associate the post – traumatic stress disorder with battle – scarred soldiers (the military combat is most common in men) and rape but it is also known that some event or many events which are overwhelming someone with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness you emotionally shattered could lead to PTSD, especially if the event was uncontrollable and unpredictable [2,3]. This condition can affect those people who are personally experiencing the threatening event. Also it can affect people who witness the event or people who pick up the pieces afterwards, such as law enforcement officers or emergency workers [4]. Also this condition can happen to young children who had surgery and they are too young to fully understand what has happened to them [5].

PTSD Symptoms and Causes

PTSD Symptoms

This condition develops differently from one person to another because everyone’s nervous system and tolerance for stress is a little different. You are most likely to develop the symptoms of PTSD in the hours or days following the traumatic event but there are many cases when it can take weeks, months or even years before they appear. There are some cases when the symptoms appear seemingly out of the blue. Also there are other cases when they are triggered by something which reminds you of the original traumatic event, such as a smell, certain words, an image or a noise. As we have said, everyone experiences the symptoms of PTSD differently, but there are 4 main types of symptoms [6]:

  1. Symptoms of PTSD #1: Re – experiencing the traumatic event:
  • Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e. g. sweating, muscle tension, nausea, rapid breathing and pounding heart)
  • Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
  • Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
  • Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
  • Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
  1. Symptoms of PTSD #2: Numbing and avoidance:
  • He or she has a sense of a limited future (you do not expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)
  • Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
  • Loss of interest in activities and life in general
  • Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
  • Avoiding activities, places, thoughts or feelings that remind you of the trauma
  1. Symptoms of PTSD #3: Hyperarousal:
  • Aggressive, self – destructive or reckless behavior
  • Feeling jumpy and easily startled
  • Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)
  • Irritability or angry outbursts
  • Sleep problems
  1. Symptoms of PTSD #4: Negative thought and mood changes:
  • Depression and hopelessness
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Feelings of mistrust and betrayal
  • Feeling alienated and alone
  • Guilt, shame or self – blame

PTSD in children: It is known that the symptoms of PTSD in children, especially very young children [5], can be different from the adults and they can include:

  • Irritability and aggression
  • Aches and pains with no apparent cause
  • Acting out the trauma through play, stories or drawings
  • Your children has new phobias and anxieties that seem unrelated to the trauma (such as a fear of monsters)
  • Somber, compulsive play in which themes or aspects of the trauma are repeated
  • Sleep problems and nightmares
  • Losing previously – acquired skills (such as toilet training)
  • Fear of being separated from parent

PTSD Risk factors

Here are some factors which can increase your risk of PTSD:

  • Lack of coping skills
  • Previous traumatic experiences, especially in early life [5,8]
  • Lack of support after the trauma
  • Family history of PTSD or depression [7]
  • High level of stress in everyday life
  • History of physical or sexual abuse [2]
  • History of depression, anxiety or another mental illness
  • History of substance abuse [8]


[1] National Institute of Mental Health. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Retrieved from

[2] Xue C, Ge Y, Tang B, et al. A meta-analysis of risk factors for combat-related PTSD among military personnel and veterans. PLoS One. 2015;10(3):e0120270.

[3] Chivers-Wilson KA. Sexual assault and posttraumatic stress disorder: A review of the biological, psychological and sociological factors and treatments. Mcgill Journal of Medicine. 2006;9(2):111–8.

[4] Iranmanesh S, Tirgari B, Bardsiri HS. Post-traumatic stress disorder among paramedic and hospital emergency personnel in south-east Iran. World Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2013;4(1):26–31.

[5] Meentken MG, van Beynum IM, Legerstee JS, et al. Medically related post-traumatic stress in children and adolescents with congenital heart defects. Frontiers in Pediatrics. 2017;5:20.

[6] Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Retrieved from

[7] Sautter FJ, Cornwell J, Johnson JJ, et al. Family history study of posttraumatic stress disorder with secondary psychotic symptoms. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 2002;159(10):1775-7.

[8] Khoury L, Tang YL, Bradley B, et al. Substance use, childhood traumatic experience, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in an urban civilian population. Depression and Anxiety. 2010;27(12):1077–86.

Merlin Joy
Merlin Joy
Holding a doctorate degree, Dr. Merlin Joy AKA Sinatra developed passion for home remedies from her mother, grand father and grandmother. Sinatra loves to read books and hiking. You can contact her through [email protected]


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