10 Signs of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological condition that can affect a person who has experienced or even just seen a life-threatening, violent and terrifying event like a natural disaster, assault, or military combat. Although the condition was first described in soldiers, it can develop in anybody. Post-traumatic stress disorder is not uncommon; it affects roughly 3.5 percent of adults in the US. About one out of 11 people will develop PTSD during their lifetime.

The symptoms of PTSD fall into four broad categories: 1) intrusive thoughts like nightmares or flashbacks, 2) avoidance of anything that reminds of them of the trauma, 3) negative feelings and thoughts, and 4) hyperarousal or reaction. The last group of symptoms includes hypervigilance, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, and reckless or self-destructive behavior.

1. Agitation

Everybody feels restless or fidgety at times. Agitation is a more extreme form of that, and it is defined more by the behavior more than the accompanying upsetting emotions. A person who is agitated will talk a lot, and they won’t be able to stay still. They may pace, wring their hands, shuffle their feet, clench their firsts, or pick at their clothing or hair. The agitated person’s movements are a reflection of their inner emotional turmoil. The purposeless movements can be accompanied by tension, excitement, impulsiveness, refusal to cooperate, hostility, and disruptive or violent behavior.

Agitation is always a symptom and not an illness in its own right like depression. It can develop gradually or suddenly. It may last only a few minutes, or it may last a lot longer. At first, the patient will simply seem restless, sarcastic and irritable. As the patient becomes more agitated, they will start pacing, clenching their fists and lashing out verbally. The patient may then start to become threatening or combative. In an agitation crisis, the patient’s condition has escalated to the point that they have become a danger to themselves or to others.