What are the symptoms of PTSD?

Symptoms of PTSD may disrupt your life and make it hard to continue with your daily activities. You may find it hard just to get through the day.

There are four types of PTSD symptoms:

1. Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms)

Memories of the traumatic event can come back at any time. You may feel the same fear and horror you did when the event took place. 

For example:

  • You may have nightmares.
  • You may feel like you are going through the event again. This is called a flashback.
  • You may see, hear, or smell something that causes you to relive the event. This is called a trigger. News reports, seeing an accident, or hearing a car backfire are examples of triggers.
 

2. Avoiding situations that remind you of the event

You may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You may even avoid talking or thinking about the event. 

For example:

  • You may avoid crowds, because they feel dangerous.
  • You may avoid driving if you were in a car accident or if your military convoy was bombed.
  • If you were in an earthquake, you may avoid watching movies about earthquakes.
  • You may keep very busy or avoid seeking help because it keeps you from having to think or talk about the event.

3. Negative changes in beliefs and feelings

The way you think about yourself and others changes because of the trauma. This symptom has many aspects, including the following: 

  • You may not have positive or loving feelings toward other people and may stay away from relationships.
  • You may forget about parts of the traumatic event or not be able to talk about them.
  • You may think the world is completely dangerous, and no one can be trusted.

4. Feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal)

You may be jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. You might suddenly become angry or irritable. This is known as hyperarousal.

For example:

  • You may have a hard time sleeping.
  • You may have trouble concentrating.
  • You may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.
  • You might want to have your back to a wall in a restaurant or waiting room.

Mental Health Commission of Canada:

http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/site-search/ptsd?retain-filters=1&type_filters=

CAMH:

http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/health_information/a_z_mental_health_and_addiction_information/Post-traumatic/Pages/pstd.aspx 

Moods Disorder Society of Canada:

http://www.mooddisorderscanada.ca/page/anti-stigma 

Disclaimer: The above listed criteria is not meant to be “all encompassing” nor used as a “check-list” for a member or family member to make a “self-diagnosis” regarding their mental wellness. If  feel that you are suffering please see a medical professional for a proper diagnosis to begin the process of submitting a claim to the workplace insurance board within your Province or Territory. Early diagnosis and  can lead to effective results for many members so that they do not have to suffer in silence.

Adapted from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: An Information Guide © 2009 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Adapted from Mental Health Commission of Canada

Adapted from Moods Disorder Society of Canada

Adapted from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs