Relive aspects of what happened: vivid memories (feeling that the trauma is happening right now), intrusive thoughts or images, nightmares, intense distress over real or symbolic memories of the trauma, physical sensations such as pain, sweating, nausea, or tremors. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by a frightening event that is experienced or witnessed. Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares and intense anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adapting and coping with them, but with time and good personal care, they usually get better.
If symptoms worsen, last for months or even years, and interfere with your daily functioning, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder. Receiving effective treatment after symptoms of PTSD occur can be critical to reducing symptoms and improving function. PTSD symptoms may begin within one month of the traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships.
They can also interfere with your ability to perform your normal daily tasks. The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can vary in intensity over time. You may have more symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder when you're generally stressed or when you find memories of what you've been through. For example, you might hear a car fire and relive combat experiences.
Or you may watch a news report about a sexual assault and feel overwhelmed by memories of your own assault. If you have disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month, if they're severe, or if you feel like you're having trouble regaining control of your life, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from worsening. After surviving a traumatic event, many people have symptoms similar to those of PTSD at first, such as not being able to stop thinking about what happened.
Fear, anxiety, anger, depression, and guilt are common reactions to trauma. However, most people exposed to trauma don't develop long-term post-traumatic stress disorder. They will ask you if you have experienced a traumatic event in the recent or distant past and if you have experienced it again through memories or nightmares. Acute stress disorder occurs as a reaction to a traumatic event, just like PTSD, and the symptoms are similar.