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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: The symptoms of PTSD can be difficult to cope with, and as a result, many people with PTSD develop unhealthy coping strategies, such as alcohol or drug abuse or deliberate self-harm.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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English: signs and symptoms ptsd (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) Through years of research, 17 PTSD symptoms have been identified. These ar...
English: signs and symptoms ptsd
English: signs and symptoms ptsd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Through years of research, 17 PTSD symptoms have been identified. These are symptoms that can develop following the experience of a traumatic event and are listed in the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or DSM-IV). These 17 symptoms are divided into three separate clusters. The three PTSD symptom clusters, and the specific symptoms that make up these clusters, are described below.
“Re-Experiencing” Symptoms
  • Frequently having upsetting thoughts or memories about a traumatic event.
  • Having recurrent nightmares.
  • Acting or feeling as though the traumatic event were happening again, sometimes called a “flashback.”
  • Having strong feelings of distress when reminded of the traumatic event.
  • Being physically responsive, such as experiencing a surge in your heart rate or sweating, to reminders of the traumatic event.
“Avoidance” Symptoms
  • Making an effort to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations about the traumatic event.
  • Making an effort to avoid places or people that remind you of the traumatic event.
  • Having a difficult time remembering important parts of the traumatic event.
  • A loss of interest in important, once positive, activities.
  • Feeling distant from others.
  • Experiencing difficulties having positive feelings, such as happiness or love.
  • Feeling as though your life may be cut short.
“Hyperarousal” Symptoms
  • Having a difficult time falling or staying asleep.
  • Feeling more irritable or having outbursts of anger.
  • Having difficulty concentrating.
  • Feeling constantly “on guard” or like danger is lurking around every corner.
  • Being “jumpy” or easily startled.
Many of these symptoms are an extreme version of our body’s natural response to stress. Understanding our body’s natural response to threat and danger (the fight or flight response) can help us better understand the symptoms of PTSD.
Do You Need All of These Symptoms for a Diagnosis of PTSD?
To be diagnosed with PTSD, a person does not need to have all these symptoms. In fact, rarely does a person with PTSD would experience all the symptoms listed above. To receive a diagnosis of PTSD, you only need a certain number of symptoms from each cluster. Additional requirements for the diagnosis also need to be assessed, such as how the person initially responded to the traumatic event, how long the symptoms have been experienced, and the extent with which those symptoms interfere with a person’s life. You can learn more about receiving a diagnosis of PTSD from the following article:
Being Diagnosed with PTSD: What to Expect
The symptoms of PTSD can have a major impact on many areas of a person’s life. Fortunately, you can do some things to cope with the symptoms of PTSD.
Coping with Symptoms of PTSD
The symptoms of PTSD can be difficult to cope with, and as a result, many people with PTSD develop unhealthy coping strategies, such as alcohol or drug abuse or deliberate self-harm. Therefore, it is important to develop a number of healthy coping strategies to manage your PTSD symptoms:

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