What is PTSD? Recognizing the Signs, Symptoms & Impact

Post-traumatic stress disorder, more commonly referred to as PTSD, is a mental health condition that can arise in the aftermath of trauma.

When most people think of PTSD, they might imagine military veterans who have seen or fought in combat. However, PTSD can affect anyone who has experienced a traumatic event, such as a car accident, sexual assault, medical emergency, or natural disaster.

Living with PTSD can be incredibly challenging, but there are ways to manage the condition and improve your quality of life. If you are wondering whether you may be struggling with PTSD, the first important step is to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this condition.

PTSD can manifest in several ways, both mentally and physically. Some common symptoms of this condition include:

  • Intrusive thoughts or memories of the trauma
  • Flashbacks or nightmares about the event
  • Avoidance of people, places, or anything that reminds you of the trauma
  • Anger, irritability, or aggression
  • Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
  • Hypervigilance; feeling on edge all the time
  • Startling easily or being easily overwhelmed

The latest research continually shows how much a traumatic event affects the brain. The changes in several brain regions cause people with PTSD to have difficulty processing memories of the trauma, and they may also be more prone to anxiety and fear.

These changes can be long-lasting and make it difficult for someone to recover without treatment. And it's not uncommon for people with PTSD to turn to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate, which can lead to worsened symptoms and other problems like addiction.

PTSD can be extremely debilitating, but there are treatment options available that can make a big difference. If you think you might be struggling with PTSD, reach out to a mental professional.

Talk therapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), helps people living with PTSD talk about their experiences and lessen the emotional force of their memories. Therapy can help people with PTSD learn new ways of coping with their symptoms and live a more fulfilling life.

Diane K. Schmidt Counseling Services | 8575 W. 110th Street, Suite 304 Overland Park, KS 66210 | Phone: 913.730.6778 | Email: