Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Triggers – Can you recognize the signs?

PTSD, or Post-traumatic stress disorder, is the most common mental health disorder in Australia after depression, with 5 to 10% of Australians suffering from PTSD at some point in their lives. PTSD can occur after experiencing a traumatic event, where fear, anxiety and memories of the traumatic event don’t go away.

It’s important to learn what symptoms and causes of PTSD can look like, so that you can understand the resources and treatments that can be offered to someone struggling. The four main symptoms of PTSD are:

  1. Re-living the traumatic event. Unwanted memories or vivid nightmares and flashbacks may cause someone you know to experience distress. These nightmares and flashbacks may lead to their difficulty sleeping, or feelings of excessive alertness.
  2. Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event. Someone you know may avoid people, places, activities, thoughts or feelings that bring back memories of what happened.
  3. Having negative thoughts and feelings. Sufferers of PTSD may share with you their feelings of hopelessness, intense worry, fear, guilt, or feeling flat or numb.
  4. Feeling wound-up or anxious. It is important to notice changes in in someone when they are expressing irritability and bouts of aggressive behaviour, taking more risks, or constantly anticipating danger.

Symptoms of PTSD may present themselves right after a traumatic event, while for some people the symptoms stay dormant for years. Support from family and friends is important in helping someone you may know overcome the debilitating effects of PTSD and in some cases, family members may need to seek support of their own. Many people will recover from PTSD on their own or with the help of family and friends, while those who experience long lasting symptoms may require treatment.

If you know of someone who is struggling to cope after a traumatic event, reach out to a GP or other health professional.

Related News