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When Trauma Decides to Stay

Understanding 3 common symptoms of PTSD

We often associate PTSD with war and soldiers in today’s society. However, anyone who has experience trauma in their life can have PTSD.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after someone goes through, or witnesses, a traumatic event. A traumatic event is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.  The major thing to note here is the word “experience”.  We all experience things differently. In some cases, what is traumatic to one person might not be traumatic to another.

So, how do we know when trauma is taking root and turning into something more? By recognizing 3 common symptoms.

3 Common PTSD Symptoms

  • Hyper-arousal: Increased awareness of every stimuli, such as sound or movements. This increased awareness leads to feeling generally unpleasant, “jumpy” or easily startled, and sometimes even irritable. Hyper-arousal can attribute to a scale of mild anxiety all the way up to full fledge panic attacks.
  • Intrusive Recollection: This can be thoughts- mostly unpleasant- related to the actual trauma. Nightmares, recurrent bad dreams and flashbacks are all types of intrusive recollections.
  • Avoidance/Numbing: The avoidance of all situations, thoughts, and feelings that might remind a person of their trauma. Over time, the energy used to constantly avoid these cues can lead to “flat affect” or a numb feeling.

When to get help

Although it is natural to experience some PTSD like symptoms after a traumatic event, it does not necessarily mean that you will have PTSD.  For example, two people who experience a car crash together. They experience the same trauma, but it is quite possible that only one of them develops PTSD.

If you have been experiencing 1 or more of these symptoms for 2 weeks or more following a traumatic event, PLEASE REACH OUT FOR HELP.  If left untreated, these symptoms will only get worse and can become life threatening.

We have some great counselors at AWCC. If you are ready to get help, please don’t hesitate to call our office at 832.421.8714.

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Sarah Howard

Sarah is a Licensed Professional Counselor - Intern, Supervised by Huston McComb, MA, LPC-S. Sarah enjoys working with young adults, adults and couples.
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