PTSD is often talked about and depicted in movies and TV shows, so we think we know the ins and outs of what it looks like. While things like flashbacks and fears are common, there are more nuanced and lesser-known signs and symptoms of PTSD that aren’t often shown on screen.
Understanding some of those signs and symptoms is important, especially if you’ve been through a traumatic experience. The more you understand the signs of PTSD, the easier it will be for you to seek out an official diagnosis.
Whether you’re concerned for yourself or a loved one, digging deeper into the symptoms of PTSD can help. Let’s take a closer look at some of those signs and symptoms of undiagnosed PTSD so you can reach out for help if necessary.
Perhaps the most familiar symptom of PTSD is dealing with “flashbacks.” This is often how movies and television shows portray someone with PTSD, and some do it better than others.
But, the unwanted memories go far beyond vivid flashbacks. People with PTSD can struggle with extreme nightmares. They might also be easily triggered by things that remind them of the traumatic event, leading to avoidance of certain situations.
Unfortunately, for someone who has gone through trauma, it can often feel like the event happened yesterday, even if it actually occurred years ago. The memories of the situation are often extremely clear and vivid, making it nearly impossible to let go of what happened and move on.
Feeling “on Edge”
When you’re consistently plagued by memories and worrying about potential triggers, it should come as no surprise that anxiety is a common symptom of PTSD.
Even if you don’t want to label your feelings as “anxious”, you might struggle with feeling like you’re on edge all of the time. Maybe you’re jumpy, irritable, or easy to startle. These issues can cause problems in everyday life, including difficulty sleeping. You might even deal with sudden outbursts of anger that you feel like you can’t control.
It’s not uncommon for people struggling with PTSD to have a negative outlook or mood more often than not. That could include negative thoughts about yourself, certain people, or even the world, in general. You might feel hopeless about the future, and not see a path to happiness in your life.
This kind of negative outlook will not only impact your personal life, but it can have a negative effect on your relationships, too. You might withdraw from family members and friends, and things you used to enjoy. PTSD leaves many people feeling “detached” and emotionally numb, so they sabotage relationships without trying.
Unfortunately, that kind of harmful thinking combined with strained relationships often makes the symptoms of PTSD worse. When you’re alone with your thoughts and you don’t have a support system surrounding you, it’s easier to let negativity, fear, and anxiety take over.
Physical and Emotional Changes
Have you found that your behaviors have changed since you experienced a traumatic event? Maybe you’ve even noticed some physical issues that were never there before, including changes in your sleeping and eating habits.
It’s not uncommon for people with PTSD to feel guilt or aggression. They might also have difficulty concentrating, which can lead to even more shame. Unfortunately, that often triggers unhealthy behaviors as a form of coping, including drinking or dangerous actions.
If any of these signs or symptoms sound familiar, it is never too late to get help. Receiving an official PTSD diagnosis is the first step toward true healing. Don’t hesitate to reach out today to learn more about trauma therapy. Together, we’ll work through the lasting effects of what you experienced so you can find peace again.