Post-traumatic stress (PTS) may emerge months or sometimes years after a traumatic experience, affecting your ability to lead your life as you’d like to.

The term post-traumatic stress is used to name a range of symptoms you may develop in response to experiencing a traumatic event, which is outside of your normal human experience. It is often a delayed response.

If you have faced a traumatic experience, you may simply feel emotionally numb to begin with, and feelings of distress may not emerge straight away.   But sooner or later, you may develop emotional and physical reactions, and changes in behaviour, which may include some of the following:

Reliving aspects of the trauma

  • vivid flashbacks (feeling that the trauma is happening all over again)

  • intrusive thoughts and images

  • nightmares

  • intense distress at real or symbolic reminders of the trauma

 

Avoiding memories

  • keeping busy

  • avoiding situations that remind you of the trauma

  • repressing memories (being unable to remember aspects of the event)

  • feeling detached, cut off and emotionally numb

  • being unable to express affection

  • feeling there’s no point in planning for the future

 

Being easily upset or angry

  • disturbed sleep

  • irritability and aggressive behaviour

  • lack of concentration

  • extreme alertness

  • panic response to anything to do with the trauma

  • being easily startled

  • reckless behaviour

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