Is PTSD the Same as Trauma?

Contrary to popular belief, not all veterans returning from combat are diagnosed with PTSD and not all trauma results in PTSD.  Experiencing stress as a result of a disturbing event is normal.  Not all people suffering from tense muscles, rapid heart rate and nightmares meet the criteria for PTSD.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder that meets specific criteria.  Some of the more symptoms, experienced for at least a month after a traumatic experience include:

  • Flashbacks or bad dreams
  • Avoiding certain activities, feelings or thoughts that are reminders of a traumatic event
  • Sudden changes in mood particularly angry feelings
  • Persistent guilt or negative emotions
  • Memory problems
  • Loss of interest in things previously enjoyed
  • Feeling emotionally numb

If you experience these symptoms for more than a month or even if you are bothered by these symptoms and they intrude on your life otherwise, you may want to talk to you primary care physician or mental health provider.

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