A Self Test


A person who has experienced an

extreme trauma may be diagnosed with PTSD if he or she has a certain number of

symptoms from each of three symptom groups: re-experiencing, avoidance/numbing, and

hyper arousal. These symptoms must last for more than 1 month and must cause severe

problems or distress in personal life, work life, or other important areas of daily living.

Re-experiencing — one or more of the following:

Frequent, sudden, and upsetting memories about the event, including certain images and thoughts about the event

Repeated distressing dreams about the event.

Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were happening again (includes reliving, such as having flashbacks about the event)

Strong mental and emotional pain when seeing people, places, or other reminders of the event.

Physical reactions (such as shakiness, chills, heart beating fast) when seeing people, places, or other reminders of the event.

Avoidance and numbing — three or more of the following:

Making efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations about the event.

Making efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that are reminders of the event.

Not being able to remember important details about the event.

No longer enjoying or taking part in activities once enjoyed.

Feeling detached or removed from family and friends.

Having feelings of emotional numbness that others may notice.

Believing that certain important life goals (such as marriage, parenthood, or growing older) will not be fulfilled.

Hyperarousal — two or more of the following:

Problems falling asleep or staying asleep.

Angry outbursts or being irritable.

Problems concentrating.

Feeling "overly alert".

Being "overly startled".

Appearance of PTSD Symptoms.

Symptoms of PTSD usually start to appear within several weeks of the traumatic event.

However, some people may not have any symptoms for months or years after the traumatic event.

PTSD — and the Possibility of Other Conditions

Sometimes people with PTSD also may have another medical condition, such as:

Another anxiety disorder.

Major depression.

Also, people with PTSD may try to numb their feelings by "self-medicating" with alcohol and/or drugs.

In addition, some people with PTSD have physical complaints along with PTSD symptoms.

These people often go to their doctors seeking treatment for these symptoms, which may include:

Stomach pains; alternating constipation/diarrhea.

Respiratory problems.


Muscle cramps or aches.

Low back pain.

Cardiovascular problems.

If you have one or more of these conditions, along with the symptoms of PTSD discussed

earlier, be sure to talk to a healthcare professional. Only a doctor or other qualified

healthcare professional can evaluate your overall condition to determine whether you have a

medical disorder and to make a diagnosis of PTSD.



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