PTSD Awareness: 15 Telltale Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

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Post-traumatic stress, or PTSD, is a mental disorder that can affect people who’ve experienced a traumatic event. It can manifest in various ways and profoundly impact a person’s daily life and relationships. In this article, we will explore 15 telltale signs of PTSD so you can overcome it in a healthy and safe way.


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Vivid memories of the traumatic event intrude upon daily life, causing the person to relive the experience as if it were happening again. Intense emotions and physical sensations often accompany this symptom.


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Recurrent and upsetting dreams related to the traumatic event may disrupt sleep. Upon waking, the individual may feel fearful, anxious, and exhausted.


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The person actively avoids reminders of the traumatic event, including places, people, activities, or conversations that may trigger distressing memories or emotions.


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Heightened sensitivity to potential threats or dangers can lead to constant alertness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. It can also cause an exaggerated startle response.

Negative Changes in Thoughts and Mood

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There may be persistent negative beliefs about oneself, others, or the world, along with guilt, shame, or detachment from others. Additionally, there’s a diminished interest in activities the person once enjoyed.

Emotional Numbing

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People with PTSD can have a sense of emotional detachment or numbness, which leads to difficulties in experiencing positive emotions or forming close relationships. 

Memory Problems

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Recalling specific details of the traumatic event may be difficult. Memory gaps surrounding the event may also cause confusion or distress.


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Persistent difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, often due to intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or hyperarousal symptoms. The result is chronic sleep disturbances and daytime fatigue.


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Excessive vigilance and scanning of the environment for potential threats or dangers are also very common. This is accompanied by heightened alertness and readiness to respond defensively.

Mood Swings


Sudden and unpredictable mood changes can occur, ranging from intense anger, irritability, or agitation to periods of sadness, hopelessness, or emotional numbness.

Physical Symptoms

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There may be a symptom of chronic pain, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, or other physical symptoms that have no apparent medical cause but are linked to the experience of trauma and associated stress.

Self-Destructive Behavior

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People with PTSD may engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse, reckless driving, or self-harm. This behavior is a way to cope with overwhelming emotions or numbness.

Social Withdrawal


A person who experiences PTSD may avoid social interactions or isolate oneself from friends, family, or social activities. This is part and parcel of shame, guilt, or a sense of being different or disconnected from others.

Difficulty Trusting Others

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A reluctance to trust or form close relationships with others stems from a fear of being betrayed, hurt, or vulnerable as a result of past traumatic experiences.

Somatic Complaints

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Somatic complaints can be physical symptoms like chronic pain. In the context of PTSD, these symptoms often manifest as a result of the body’s physiological response to stress and trauma. 


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