Experiencing a traumatic event can trigger negative, long-term consequences that can develop into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Getting a diagnosis is the first step to healing.
The symptoms of PTSD begin to show three months after traumatic events such as natural disasters, violent attacks, accidents, and death or disease of a loved one. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), however, PTSD can also appear several years after experiencing a traumatic event. In order for it to be diagnosed, symptoms must last longer than one month,
People who go through such complex situations often have difficulty asking for help because they simply believe that they must get over the experience. Each person reacts differently, however, and what one person can overcome easily, can leave a negative impact in the life of another. Support, love, understanding and respect for others’ feelings are therefore vital aspects of treatment.
Some of the warning signs include: flashbacks where the event is repeated over and over again in the person’s head, wanting to avoid certain places or objects that make a person recall a traumatic event, disassociation, feeling like the whole world is “not real,” being startled easily, feeling nervous, sleep disorders and angry outbursts. In children, these symptoms can appear as tantrums, overdependence on adults, loss of speech and reenacting the frightening situation during play, NAMI states.