Initial Assessment for PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that you may develop after experiencing a life-threatening event, natural disasters, car accidents or sexual assaults. After these traumatic events, it’s normal to have some upsetting memories, feelings of being on edge or trouble sleeping. At first, day-to-day activities like going to work or school may be difficult. If these feelings do not subside after a few weeks or months, you may have PTSD.
It’s important to remember that PTSD does not mean weakness. A number of factors can increase your chance of developing PTSD, many of which are not under your control.
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD symptoms will usually start soon after the triggering event, though in some rare cases they may not appear until months or even years later. They can also come and go over many years. There are four types of symptoms of PTSD.
- Type 1- Flashbacks: reliving the event through bad memories or nightmares, feeling as though you’re going through the event again
- Type 2- Avoidance: you may avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event, even avoiding thinking about the event
- Type 3: Increased negativity: you’re feelings of self-worth and the way you view others may change because of trauma, you may also feel increased feelings of guilt and shame, finding it hard to be happy.
- Type 4: Hyperarousal: you may have feelings of jitteriness or always on the alert, looking out for danger. This may cause trouble concentrating or sleeping, getting suddenly angry or irritable.
PTSD in Children
Children can experience PTSD, too. They may share some of the same symptoms as adults or other symptoms depending on age. Children under six may experience feelings of anxiety and get upset when their parents are away. They may also have trouble sleeping and begin to act out the trauma through play.
In children ages seven to 11, they may also act out the trauma in play, drawings or stories. Some may experience nightmares and become irritable or aggressive. Others may begin to avoid school or have trouble with schoolwork or friends.
In children ages 12 to 18, these symptoms will be more adult-like. Depression, anxiety, withdrawal or reckless behavior like running away are common.