PTSD diagnosis affects an estimated one out of every eleven adults at some point in their lifetime, yet research data shows that those with PTSD seek treatment less than with other mental health issues. Only one in three adults will access treatment within the year after meeting the criteria for having PTSD.
Diagnosis of Post-traumatic stress disorder requires exposure to an event that involved actual or possible threat of death, violence, or serious injury, from situations that include natural disaster, a serious accident, or acts of violence. Exposure to the event can be through direct experience, being witness to the event happening to others, discovering that someone close to you was impacted by the traumatic event, or through repeated exposure to graphic details of the traumatic events.
PTSD Diagnosis Impacts Function
Those who may have PTSD typically continue to have intense or disturbing thoughts and feelings long after the event occurred which cause significant problems in ability to function, negatively impacting behaviors and interpersonal relationships in social situations, work settings, and home life.
PTSD Diagnosis Symptoms
Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD that may lead up to seeking help include the following:
- Physical Pain – PTSD symptoms very often begin with common physical complaints that include headaches, migraines, fatigue, chest pain, breathing issues, digestive upset
- Nightmares or Flashbacks – Commonly reported, re-living the traumatic even can occur in waking images with sensations of physical and emotional pain, fear. Flashbacks to the event may cause sleeping difficulties as well as anxiety when leaving the safety of their home or familiar surroundings
- Mental phobias – these behaviors may lead to irrational and persistent fear, avoidance, paranoia, depression, or anxiety, related to certain objects, people, or situations, that remind one of the traumatic event
- Repression – Intentional blocking of memories associated with a past traumatic event or experience is also a PTSD diagnosis symptom. Pictures, memorabilia, music, or newspaper clippings, for example may be destroyed or thrown away.
- Emotional Numbing – Numbing emotional pain and feelings can lead to gradual withdrawal and isolation from social circles and interpersonal relationships. Numbing may be through self-denial of feelings or through substance abuse and other risk-taking behaviors.
- Hyper-arousal – For those with PTSD it is common to feel “on edge” or “jumpy” making it difficult to relax. Fear of threats or injury often make those with PTSD easily frightened.
- Irritability – For those with PTSD, being in a state of constant fear and paranoia may cause extreme PTSD-associated irritability, sleeplessness, lack of concentration, indecisiveness, and difficulty maintaining personal relationships.
- Guilt and Shame – PTSD symptoms include immense shame and guilt when it becomes impossible to get past the negative traumatic experience and move forward with their life. Many with PTSD relive the event wondering how they could have prevented it from happening, or blaming themselves for the tragedy.
PTSD Diagnostic Psychiatrist
Help and treatment is available. Call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive and confidential evaluation. Take the steps needed to move forward with your life and end the fear and suffering that has taken control of your life.