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How do I know if I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

PTSD can manifest very differently for different people. For some, the symptoms will be present all of the time and for others they will be less noticeable for extended periods of time before re-occurring. The severity of the symptoms can also differ between people.

The main signs to look out for are:

  • Re-experiencing the trauma involuntarily through flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive images and physical sensations such as pain, sweating and nausea
  • Thinking about the trauma and becoming preoccupied with what you could have done differently
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Being on edge, looking out for threats and being easily startled (also known as hyperarousal)
  • Anger and irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Avoiding people or places that remind you of the trauma
  • Keeping yourself extra busy to avoid thinking and feeling anything to do with the trauma
  • Using drugs of alcohol to numb feelings and avoid thoughts

It is important to note that it is normal to have symptoms like this in the initial days and weeks following a traumatic event. However, if they persist for longer than a month, you should seek help.