A wide variety of symptoms may be signs you are experiencing PTSD:
- Feeling upset by things that remind you of what happened
- Having nightmares, vivid memories, or flashbacks of the event that make you feel like it’s happening all over again
- Feeling emotionally cut off from others
- Feeling numb or losing interest in things you used to care about
- Becoming depressed
- Thinking that you are always in danger
- Feeling anxious, jittery, or irritated
- Experiencing a sense of panic that something bad is about to happen
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having trouble keeping your mind on one thing
- Having a hard time relating to and getting along with your spouse, family, or friends
It’s not just the symptoms of PTSD but also how you may react to them that can disrupt your life. You may:
- Frequently avoid places or things that remind you of what happened
- Consistent drinking or use of drugs to numb your feelings
- Consider harming yourself or others
- Start working all the time to occupy your mind
- Pull away from other people and become isolated
If you have PTSD, it doesn’t mean you just have to live with it. In recent years, researchers from around the world have dramatically increased our understanding of what causes PTSD and how to treat it. Hundreds of thousands of Veterans have gotten treatment for PTSD—and treatment works.
Two types of treatment have been shown to be effective for treating PTSD: counseling and medication. Professional counseling can help you understand your thoughts and discover ways to cope with your feelings. Medications, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are used to help you feel less worried or sad.
In just a few months, these treatments can produce positive and meaningful changes in symptoms and quality of life. They can help you understand and change how you think about your trauma—and change how you react to stressful memories.
You may need to work with your doctor or counselor and try different types of treatment before finding the one that’s best for dealing with your PTSD symptoms.