When To See A Doctor
Many people experience symptoms after a traumatic event, such as crying, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating, but this is not necessarily PTSD.
Prompt treatment with a qualified professional can help prevent the symptoms from getting worse.
This should be considered if:
- symptoms persist for more than a month
- symptoms are severe enough to prevent the person returning to normal life
- the person considers harming themselves
Treatment psychotherapy and counseling, medication, or a combination.
Options for psychotherapy will be specially tailored for managing trauma.
Cognitive processing therapy : Also known as cognitive restructuring, the individual learns how to think about things in a new way. Mental imagery of the traumatic event may help them work through the trauma, to gain control of the fear and distress.
Exposure therapy: Talking repeatedly about the event or confronting the cause of the fear in a safe and controlled environment may help the person feel they have more control over their thoughts and feelings. The effectiveness of this treatment has been questioned, however, and it must be carried out with care, or there may be a risk of worsening of the symptoms.
I Feel Sad All The Time
Feeling sad, down, heavy or blue most of the time for more than 2 weeks can be a sign of depression. If youare concerned that you may be depressed, talk with your health care provider or reach out to a mental healthprofessional for support. If you are a Canadian Armed Forces member, a Military or a Royal CanadianMounted Police Veteran, you can also call the Canadian Armed Forces Member Assistance Program and Veterans Affairs Canada Assistance Service 24-hour toll-free line at or .
If you are a Veteran, you can also contact Veterans Affairs Canadaby at or .
What Should I Know About Participating In Clinical Research
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.
Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct many studies with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. For more information, visit NIMH’s clinical trials webpage.
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What Causes Ptsd In Men And How Is It Different
Every case of PTSD is different, and no single factor is present in every case.
PTSD symptoms dont necessarily differ across genders. However, there are specific traumatic experiences that are more likely to be experienced by men than women, and vice versa.
Men are more likely to be in combat or high-risk employment positions. Women are more likely to experience sexual abuse . These types of experiences can all lead to PTSD.
Research has also found a difference in the age at which traumatic events occur in the lives of men and women. Men typically experience their trauma later in life, whereas women are more likely to experience trauma at a younger age, often from physical or sexual abuse.
In particular, men with PTSD often experience more difficulty controlling their anger and regulating their mood, compared to women with PTSD.
Substance use is more often seen in men with PTSD compared to women, as is withdrawal from friends and family.
What Is Complex Post
The main symptoms of PTSD and complex PTSD are the same. But if you have complex PTSD you will have extra symptoms such as:
- constant issues with keeping a relationship,
- finding it difficult to feel connected to other people,
- constant belief that you are worthless with deep feelings of shame and guilt. This will be related to the trauma, and
- constant and severe emotional dysregulation. This means it is difficult to control your emotions
You are more likely to have complex PTSD if your trauma is linked to an event or series of events. The trauma will be very threatening or frightening. Most commonly from a trauma which you were not able to escape from such as:
- a long period of domestic abuse, or
- a long period of sexual or physical abuse
What is the treatment for complex PTSD?
You may respond to trauma focussed therapies if you have complex PTSD. Please see the section below on therapies and additional needs for PTSD.
There is some overlap of symptoms for complex PTSD and borderline personality disorder . If you have complex PTSD you may benefit from certain treatments that help people with BPD.
You can find more information about ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ by clicking here.
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Myth: Only Combat Veterans Get Ptsd
Anyone can get PTSD after a traumatic event, not just those who have served in the military and experienced combat. Sexual assault, domestic violence, natural disasters, and child abuse are all situations that can cause PTSD. Sometimes people dont need to actually experience the trauma themselves. Witnessing a traumatic event can also lead to the onset of the condition.
Im Embarrassed To Have Ptsd
If people with PTSD see it as a sign of weakness or damage, they may feel ashamed or secretive about it. Thismay be especially true if the person has angry outbursts, flashbacks or other symptoms of PTSD when inpublic.
Embarrassment and shame can lead trauma survivors to withdraw or keep quiet about their problems. But thiscan backfire and leave them isolated and unsupported.
Remember: PTSD is a normal response to abnormal circumstances.
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What Are Symptoms Of Ptsd
Symptoms of PTSD are categorized into four types: re-experiencing, avoidance, arousal and reactivity, and cognition and mood symptoms.
Re-experiencing symptoms of PTSD include:
- Frightening thoughts or images
- Intense distress at real or symbolic reminders of the trauma
- Physical sensations such as pain, sweating, nausea, or trembling
Avoidance symptoms of PTSD include:
- Avoiding places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
- Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
- Feeling a need to keep busy
- Inability to remember details of what happened
- Feeling emotionally numb or cut off from feelings
- Feeling physically numb or detached from ones body
- Self-destructive or reckless behaviors
- Use of alcohol or drugs to avoid memories
Arousal and reactivity symptoms of PTSD include:
- Being easily startled
- Experiencing violence, such as military combat, a terrorist attack, or a violent assault
- Witnessing others being hurt or killed
- Working in a job such as emergency services or armed forces where one repeatedly sees or hears distressing things
- Surviving a natural disaster
- Traumatic childbirth as a mother or partner witnessing a traumatic birth
- Losing a loved one in distressing circumstances
- Being kidnapped, held hostage, or any experience in which a person fears for their life
- Receiving a diagnosis of a life-threatening medical condition
- Getting treatment in a psychiatric ward
- Repeated traumatic experiences
How Can I Help A Friend Or Relative Who Has Ptsd
If you know someone who may be experiencing PTSD, the most important thing you can do is to help that person get the right diagnosis and treatment. Some people may need help making an appointment with their health care provider others may benefit from having someone accompany them to their health care visits.
If a close friend or relative is diagnosed with PTSD, you can encourage them to follow their treatment plan. If their symptoms do not get better after 6 to 8 weeks, you can encourage them to talk to their health care provider. You also can:
- Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
- Learn about PTSD so you can understand what your friend is experiencing.
- Listen carefully. Pay attention to the persons feelings and the situations that may trigger PTSD symptoms.
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Getting A Ptsd Diagnosis
If you believe that you may have PTSD, there are many resources and mental health professionals available to help you.
You may find it useful to seek help sooner rather than later because PTSD symptoms can worsen and further interfere with your daily life as time goes on.
When you meet with a mental health professional, they will want to discuss your symptoms and the traumatic moment, or time period, that you experienced.
Once you have your diagnosis, they will discuss your treatment options.
Symptoms Of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & C
The symptoms of PTSD and C-PTSD can have a significant impact on your daily life.
Each persons experience of PTSD is unique to them and people react to traumatic experiences in a variety of ways: you might have experienced a similar type of trauma to someone else, yet be affected in a different way.
Many people who experience a trauma will experience some symptoms which dissipate after a number of weeks. However if those symptoms continue for longer than a month, and are affecting your day-to-day life, PTSD or C-PTSD may be present. In around 15% of people, there may be a delay of months or even years before symptoms even start to appear.
PTSD and C-PTSD symptoms can vary in intensity over time. Some people with PTSD learn to manage their symptoms and so have long periods when their symptoms are less noticeable, followed by periods where they get worse. Other people have constant severe symptoms, or you may only have symptoms when youre stressed in general, or when you run into reminders of what you went through.
PTSD and C-PTSD symptoms vary from person to person, but these are some common signs and symptoms that you might recognise:
Re-experiencing is the most typical symptom of PTSD & C-PTSD. This is when a person involuntarily and vividly relives the traumatic event
Thoughts and feelings can trigger these symptoms, as well as words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event.
Alertness and Reactivity Symptoms
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Who Is Most Likely To Get Ptsd
You can get PTSD from any type of personal experience. This could mean:
Being directly involved in a traumatic experience
Hearing about something that happened to a friend, family member, or stranger
Seeing something upsetting on the news, internet, or social media
Being repeatedly exposed to trauma while at work
Experiencing trauma in your community
Examples of common traumatic experiences include:
After experiencing trauma, certain groups of people are more likely to get PTSD. You have a higher risk for PTSD if you are:
You might also be more likely to get PTSD if you have an experience where you feel especially helpless, or are afraid that you might die. You may also be more at risk for PTSD if you dont have good social support after a traumatic event.
The Importance Of Ptsd Treatment
Many people are unaware that untreated post-traumatic stress disorder can have a devastating effect for both those who have the condition and their loved ones. It not only affects relationships with your family, friends and others, it can trigger serious emotional problems and even cause health problems over time.
PTSD affects people of all ages. It can even impact the health of unborn babies when the mother is under constant stress.
Ptsd Treatments And Therapies
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a severe mental health condition. Treatment can involve different therapies, medications, and self-care techniques.
Its essential to work with a doctor or therapist who can help you find the best treatment plan for you. Explore your options below and see what works best for you.
Usually, a combination between therapy and medication is recommended, depending on your situation.
Trauma Avoidance Signs Of Ptsd
Many survivors will avoid locations, people, or even topics of conversation that remind them of the traumatic event itself. Trauma avoidance signs of PTSD include an aversion to emotions, cognitions, or conversations about the traumatic experience, avoidance of places that cause reminders of the trauma and avoidance of hobbies or activities due to all of the fear surrounding the trauma.
Dissociative symptoms also can set in during the brains attempts at avoidance, including sensations of depersonalization and derealization , as well as general emotional detachment and social alienation.
Many PTSD survivors also find themselves detached from positive feelings, as the brain attempts to build an emotional wall, leaving them with feelings of emptiness or flat demeanors. Many PTSD survivors will also begin to ascribe to the belief that they will not live a full life due to their near-death experiences, causing a host of lifestyle issues as they may avoid long-term planning around jobs, careers, relationships or families.
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The New Way To Predict Ptsd In Adults
While everyone can feel low at times, Dr. Emrani says if your symptoms persist for three months or longer, you may have PTSD. For your symptoms to be diagnosed as a disorder, they have to actually impact your daily life activities and your ability to function, she says.
Emrani further explains that symptoms can appear at varying times after the traumatic event, sometimes three or even six months afterward, and come and go based on triggering events.
The condition could turn chronic for some, while for others symptoms might dissipate after six months with treatment.
Here is an overview of the different symptoms of PTSD.
What Are Flashbacks
A flashback is a vivid experience in which you relive some aspects of a traumatic event or feel as if it is happening right now. This can sometimes be like watching a video of what happened, but flashbacks do not necessarily involve seeing images, or reliving events from start to finish. You might experience any of the following:
- seeing full or partial images of what happened
- noticing sounds, smells or tastes connected to the trauma
- feeling physical sensations, such as pain or pressure
- experiencing emotions that you felt during the trauma.
You might notice that particular places, people or situations can trigger a flashback for you, which could be due to them reminding you of the trauma in some way. Or you might find that flashbacks seem to happen at random. Flashbacks can last for just a few seconds, or continue for several hours or even days.
“I feel like I’m straddling a timeline where the past is pulling me in one direction and the present another. I see flashes of images and noises burst through, fear comes out of nowhere. My heart races, my breathing is loud and I no longer know where I am.”
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How Common Is Ptsd
Although most people feel much better within a month or two after a trauma, some people do develop PTSD orother problems like depression or substance use problems.
Did you know?
- About 9.2% of Canadians will have PTSD in their lifetime.
- Women develop PTSD more often than men.
- Certain types of trauma, such as those related to combat and rape, can cause higher rates.
What Are The Treatments For Post
The main treatments for PTSD are talk therapy, medicines, or both. PTSD affects people differently, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. If you have PTSD, you need to work with a mental health professional to find the best treatment for your symptoms.:
- Talk therapy, or psychotherapy, which can teach you about your symptoms. You will learn how to identify what triggers them and how to manage them. There are different types of talk therapy for PTSD.
- Medicines can help with the symptoms of PTSD. Antidepressants may help control symptoms such as sadness, worry, anger, and feeling numb inside. Other medicines can help with sleep problems and nightmares.
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How Is Ptsd Diagnosed
A psychiatrist will diagnose PTSD through a mental health assessment. Your GP should carry out an initial assessment to decide what care you need. Your assessment should include information about:
- your physical needs,
- your social needs, and
As part of the assessment they will decide if you need to be referred to the community mental health team . You should be referred to the CMHT if you have had symptoms for more than 4 weeks. Or your symptoms are very bad. A CMHT is part of the NHS. They are a team of mental health professionals.
Doctors use the following manuals to help to diagnose you:
- International Classification of Diseases produced by the World Health Organisation , and
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual produced by the American Psychiatric Association.
The manuals are guides which explain different mental health conditions.
Beyond Treatment: How Can I Help Myself
Sometimes treatment is not enough. If you need more help, you can reach out to support groups. In these groups, survivors can support others and hear how others deal with the trauma.
If you are in an emergency or need urgent support, you can call 911. You can also text CONNECT to 741741 to talk to someone while in crisis.
If you have suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can reach them at 1-800-273-TALK .
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