What does traumatic stress look like?

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. A doctor with experience helping people with mental illness, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, can diagnose PTSD. 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.

PTSD isn't always accompanied by clues such as nightmares and flashbacks. Sometimes it seems like a change in mood unrelated to the traumatic event. Exposure includes directly experiencing an event, witnessing a traumatic event that happens to other people, or learning that a traumatic event occurred to a family member or close friend. Acute stress disorder occurs as a reaction to a traumatic event, just like PTSD, and the symptoms are similar.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, a series of events, or a set of circumstances.