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Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) usually appear within three months of the traumatic event but there may be a delayed onset with symptoms appearing at least six months after the stressor.  Symptoms of the disorder fall into three categories:

  • Intrusion
  • Avoidance
  • Hyperarousal
Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The term intrusion describes the reexperiencing of a traumatic event through sudden and unexpected remembering, nightmares or flashbacks.  These memories can be so strong the individual may believe he is experiencing the trauma again.   Avoidance is manifested by an individual’s detachment from family members, friends and society in general.  This detachment may be accompanied by an inability to feel or express emotion.  An individual with PTSD will avoid situations or activities that might remind them of their traumatic experience.  Because of an increased state of arousal they may become irritable or volatile for no apparent reason.  A constant fear of danger results in exaggerated startle reactions and difficulty in concentration and if experiencing recurrent nightmares, the individual may develop insomnia. PTSD is considered acute if it lasts less than three months. Symptoms lasting longer than three months indicate chronic PTSD.

While there may be a number of factors predisposing an individual to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder it has long been theorized that early childhood trauma is directly associated with psychopathology in adults.  Perhaps compelled by this theory the authors of the following studies have established a strong correlation between childhood abuse, physical or sexual, and the development of posttraumatic stress in adulthood.

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