Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a disorder that develops after you experience or witness a traumatic event. Such traumatic events may include but are not limited to car accidents, war, the death of a family member, a violent crime or the like.
Any person of any age can experience PTSD following direct exposure to or witnessing a traumatic event. That said, if you experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, you may have the condition. How do you know for sure, though? Through its Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Fact Sheet, the Social Security Administration details the symptoms of PTSD, when they begin and for how long they may persist.
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD looks different for everyone. However, you may know you have the condition if you experience or witness a traumatic event and, shortly afterward, develop one or more of the following symptoms:
- Flashbacks of the traumatic events
- Bad dreams or difficulty sleeping
- Startling easily
- Distorted feelings, such as guilt or blame
- Negative thoughts or feelings about oneself
- Unwarranted angry outbursts
- Difficulty remembering key details of the traumatic event
Children who suffer from PTSD may play out key details of the traumatic event, become aggressive or irritable, have trouble sleeping, experience nightmares, or struggle with schoolwork and/or peers.
Timeline of symptoms
If you do develop PTSD, you may begin to experience symptoms within three months of the triggering event. You may experience symptoms for just a few months or the rest of your life. Symptoms may become less intense with time, or they may intensify without treatment.
PTSD can be a debilitating condition. If someone else’s negligence caused an event that triggered your symptoms, you may have a case for compensation.