- Physical and emotional distress when there are reminders of the traumatic event
- Sleeping difficulties
- Anger and irritability
- Concentration problems
- Exaggerated startle response
- Limited range of emotions (e.g. cannot have loving feelings)
- Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Constant preparedness and expectation of danger - being 'on guard'
- Sense of the future being shortened - for example, a person predicts they will not get married, have children, or have a normal life expectancy
These symptoms usually begin within three months of the trauma, and must have been present for at least one month for diagnosis of PTSD.
People experiencing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder symptoms may also indicate additional problems, including:
- Feelings of shame and guilt
- Feeling permanently damaged as a result of the trauma
- Health complaints such as headaches, stomach-aches, or other pain symptoms that persist in the absence of a clear physical cause.
The severity with which PTSD symptoms are experienced can be influenced by a number of factors including:
- Life stress
- Presence or absence of social support
- The nature of the traumatic event
- Proximity to the traumatic event
- Length of exposure to the traumatic event
In addition, PTSD can sometimes occur in association with other mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, and alcohol or substance abuse.