Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Circumstances that threaten people’s lives significantly affect their mental health and can contribute to the development of disorders. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs if a person has become a participant or witness in a traumatic event or has learned that such an event has happened with a loved one. Examples of traumatic circumstances include the death of a close person, sexual violence, war, physical assault, natural cataclysm, or car accidents. The disorder has several symptoms, the manifestation of which may differ. Although PTSD significantly interferes with a person’s daily life, it can be managed with the necessary help and treatment.

Symptoms of PTSD, their number, and severity of manifestation can differ among people. They usually include feelings of fear and hopelessness, horror, and repeated experiences of a traumatic event (Bartol & Bartol, 2020). After trauma, anxiety often increases, and to reduce stress, a person tries to avoid things that remind them of adverse situation. In addition to the mentioned signs, an injured individual can express anger. Sometimes victims of certain events report a concern about their vulnerability, feeling like a goal, and are constantly wary. Symptoms can periodically appear and disappear, and if circumstances are even harsher in a person’s memory, their intensity increases (Bartol & Bartol, 2020). Symptoms’ duration is also individual as some people adapt faster than others.

In PTSD, the injury that occurred to people produces such a strong effect that it prevents them from doing everyday actions such as work or communication. The nature of the trauma and its perception can affect the intensity of the symptoms. In particular, PTSD after events deliberately provoked by people, for instance, a war or attack has longer-lasting consequences (Bartol & Bartol, 2020). At the same time, symptoms can appear immediately or some period after the traumatic event. If the person feels symptoms less than three months, it is acute PTSD, and more than three months tells about the chronic disorder (Bartol & Bartol, 2020). Thus, many factors can affect the appearance and course of PTSD.

Some studies suggest that similar traumatic events may have different consequences. For example, about 40% of survivors of non-domestic attacks report short-term symptoms such as confusion, anger, sleep difficulties, and fear (Bartol & Bartol, 2020). Nearly 20-40% experience more severe and long-term consequences – depression, feelings of hopelessness, and intense anxiety. Finally, fewer victims – about 5% can report lifelong symptoms after the attack (Bartol & Bartol, 2020). Personal communication and support can help treat and reduce the severity of symptoms. Since not everyone has access to qualified specialist assistance, such services as support groups or hotlines are of great importance.

In conclusion, it is worth noting that PTSD occurs after a severely traumatic event. Many symptoms can appear due to this disorder – from short-term confusion to long-term depression. Victims often recall the circumstances of trauma, repeatedly experiencing the same feelings. The manifestation of these symptoms, their duration, and intensity are individual, as they depend on many factors. For example, symptoms may be affected by the peculiarities of the traumatic event or the personal abilities of victims to adapt. PTSD may appear immediately after the traumatic event or some time after it, and symptoms may come and go. The disorder significantly interferes with a person’s life, which indicates the importance of treatment. Social support is critical in recovery from traumatic events and returning to everyday life.


Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2020). Introduction to forensic psychology: Research and application (5th ed.). Sage Publications.

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