Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Service members are at risk for death or injury. They may see others hurt or killed. They may have to kill or wound others. They are on alert around the clock. These and other factors can increase chances of having PTSD or other mental health issues. When trauma is happening, it often creates feelings of intense fear, helplessness, or horror for those who experience them. In the days and weeks that follow, they often create longer-lasting stress reactions that can be surprising, distressing, and difficult to understand. By understanding traumatic stress re-actions better, War Veterans can become less fearful of them and better able to cope with them.

The following lists provide warning signs and symptoms of PTSD. Many resources are available to veterans. Contact us for more information on dealing with PTSD.

Warning Signs

  • Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
  • Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
  • Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
  • Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
  • Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)

Symptom: Avoidance and Numbing

  • Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
  • Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
  • Loss of interest in activities and life in general
  • Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
  • Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)

Symptom: Increased Anxiety and Emotional Arousal

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)
  • Feeling jumpy and easily startled

Other Common Symptoms

  • Anger and irritability
  • Guilt, shame, or self-blame
  • Substance abuse
  • Feelings of mistrust and betrayal
  • Depression and hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings
  • Feeling alienated and alone
  • Physical aches and pains