What is PTSD?

Who's at Risk?

Myths

Symptoms

Diagnosis

Treatment

Getting Help

How is PTSD diagnosed?

A diagnosis of PTSD may be considered if a certain number of symptoms from each of the three “clusters” have lasted for one month or more and if they cause severe problems or distress at home or at work or, in general, affect daily life.

PTSD symptoms usually appear within several weeks of the trauma, but some people don’t experience symptoms until months, even years, later.

PTSD can last six months for some people while others may experience symptoms for much longer. Again, it is important to understand that people respond differently to trauma. Some people will have a few problems, and these problems may go away without treatment. Others will need support and some kind of treatment before they can move forward with their lives.

Why is it hard to diagnose?

The most critical steps in treating PTSD often are the most difficult — recognizing the problem and getting help. There are many reasons why this can be hard to do:


- People who have experienced an extreme traumatic event may hope, or even expect, to be able to “handle it” and “get over it” on their own.
  - Sometimes people feel guilty about what happened and may mistakenly believe they are to blame or deserve the hurt and pain. Sometimes the experience may be too personal, painful or embarrassing to discuss.
  - Some people avoid dealing with anything related to the trauma, especially as they try to get back to the “normal” activities of their daily lives.
  - PTSD can make a person feel isolated or alone, making it difficult to reach out for help.
  - People with PTSD don’t always make the connection between the traumatic event and the emotional emptiness, anger, anxiety and sometimes physical symptoms they unexpectedly find themselves feeling months, even years, after the trauma.
  - Sometimes people don’t know that help is available or don’t know where to turn for help.

If you or someone you care about has PTSD, you need to know that help is available. PTSD is treatable.

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The PTSD Alliance is supported by Beachway Therapy Center, a Florida based addiction treatment center.