Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress

Coping With


Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress

Many trauma survivors find themselves reexperiencing the trauma in their mind. Survivors usually can’t control this or stop it from occurring. The consequences may include:

  • Flashbacks—feelings that the trauma is happening again

  • Bad dreams and nightmares

  • A tendency to be very startled by loud noises or by someone unexpectedly coming up to them from behind

  • A shaky feeling and sweatiness

  • A pounding heart or trouble breathing

  • A feeling of upset when reminded of the trauma by something seen, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted

  • Anxiety or fear—the feeling of being in danger again

  • Trouble controlling emotions because reminders lead to sudden anxiety, anger, or upset

  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep

  • Agitation and a constant state of being on the lookout for danger

  • An emotional shutdown or emotional numbness

  • Trouble having loving feelings or feeling any strong emotions

  • The feeling that surroundings are strange or unreal

  • Loss of interest in things that were previously enjoyable

  • Trouble remembering important parts of what happened during the trauma

  • A feeling of being disconnected from the world around them and the things happening to them


Appeared in Awake!  August 22, 2001

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Picture Credit: Army scene: U.S. Signal Corps photo

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