How Do You Know if You Have PTSD?
Most people will have heard of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD as it is commonly called. It affects around seven to eight percent of the population of the USA, so it could be that you are suffering without even realizing, or you might have suspicions that you have PTSD, but you’re just not sure.
It’s important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible to allow you to start treatment quicker and your life can return to normal. Even if you are not ‘cured’ of your PTSD, learning how to handle the symptoms and live your life how you want is crucial for your happiness. So, how can you determine if you have PTSD?
When you have PTSD, your emotions will be different to normal, and these feelings could have lasted for many years – perhaps even to the point when you feel this is normal. If any of the following apply to you, you may have PTSD after a traumatic event, and you must seek medical advice.
1. Sleep Issues
You might have trouble getting to sleep, or it could be that you cannot stay asleep all night, even if you start off well. You might also experience intense nightmares – these could be in the form of flashbacks. A lack of sleep can cause you to become irritable and confused, and you certainly won’t be as productive as you could be.
2. Anger Issues
Lack of sleep will make you feel irritable and even angry, but even if you are sleeping well, PTSD can still cause anger issues. You might feel completely out of control and notice that you snap at any time over the smallest of things. Your friends and family may not know how to deal with your anger either, which can make relationships difficult.
If you have PTSD, you can easily disconnect from everyone and everything you used to like and enjoy. This can be through choice – you might prefer to be alone because you are worried about your mood swings and think you might hurt someone. It can also be because you don’t enjoy being around people anymore in general. For example, you may notice that crowds make you uncomfortable.
Depression is an all too common symptom of PTSD, and it can manifest in several ways. You might lose interest in activities that you used to love, for example, and you could feel hopeless about the future.
Along with depression, anxiety is another major symptom of PTSD. Having anxiety means that you are always on your guard, and this can be exhausting, especially as your stress levels will be raised. This has a physical effect too, flooding the body with cortisol, the stress hormone. Too much cortisol can affect heart function, can raise blood pressure, and can cause weight gain, among other things.
If you suffer from any combination of these symptoms, as well as others that we haven’t mentioned, and you feel that PTSD might be the cause, you should seek advice from a medical professional. Never worry that you will be ‘wasting their time’ because you’re not sure there’s anything wrong. It’s far better to ask the question than to wait it out and become even more unwell.