PTSD Stages and Symptoms

PTSD stages

Clinical psychology usually distinguishes between 3 stages of disorder: acute PTSD, chronic and delayed.

Acute stage

Up to six weeks after the traumatic event. The man is moved by fear. Changes in perception of time and reality, space, the person suffers from excessive activity or falls into stupor. Among the physical manifestations:

  • Uneven breathing and rapid heartbeat;
  • Sweating;
  • Nausea;
  • Sharp short movements (twitching);
  • Tremor of the hands;
  • Tinnitus in the ears;
  • stool disorders;
  • Fainting, headaches and dizziness;
  • Reduced concentration of attention;
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • At the level of emotion, there is a feeling of helplessness, super vigilance and outbursts of anger, accusations, fear, guilt, anticipation of danger, constant anxiety and reoccupation.

The nature of the development of symptoms depends on individual personality: weakened or strengthened, lost or not. At this stage, it is shown that debriefing (a conversation between a psychologist and a person who has received a psychological trauma) and hypnosis are conducted. If the help has not been provided or has been incorrect, the next stage – chronic – occurs.

Chronic stage

Six weeks to six months. There are behavioral disorders due to anxiety for the future life, feeling of uncertainty. At this stage, it is important to talk about the problem, express your thoughts and feelings. If this is not the case, anxiety, revenge and aggression will increase.

The main feature of the stage – depression in conjunction with constant severe fatigue. Memories come to light. A man is obsessed with trauma, spoil relations with loved ones, suffers from quality of life. The victim is detached from reality, he or she cannot adequately perceive it.

As a result, a person chooses some form of escape from reality. The way of help at this stage is psychotherapy. If the help is not provided, then there comes a delayed stage.

Delayed stage

Six months to several years after the traumatic event. All the symptoms described in the following paragraph are observed. Depression and addiction are worsening. The person completely loses control over his own life. He tries to “revive” himself with other strong shocks.

PTSD symptoms

There are several groups of symptoms.

Dissociative symptoms

  • They’re the ones who come up with the traumatizing paintings.
  • Constant thoughts about what happened.
  • Feeling emotionally dependent.
  • Staying “here and there”, i.e. no matter where a person is, he or she seems to be in that traumatic situation all the time at the same time.

With each unwelcome memory, the person experiences the most intense stress again. Sometimes he can even commit involuntary protective actions, for example, fall to the ground.

Trauma reminds you of yourself in your sleep. This can be an accurate reproduction of what happened or a variation. Just as events may repeat themselves identically to reality, so too, the person in their sleep experiences their emotions again.

From such dreams the victim wakes up tired, he is pierced by sweat, muscles are shackled, and the heart works at the limit. Naturally, because of nightmares suffers from the quality of sleep (fear of falling asleep, problem sleeping, early awakening, restless sleep). Gradually accumulates fatigue and apathy.

Avoidance symptoms

A person tries to displace any memories of a traumatic event:

  • Avoiding thoughts and memories of the experience;
  • Avoiding situations that resemble experiences;
  • Avoiding people, places, conversations that may remind you of the trauma;
  • forgetting the most important moments of the traumatic situation;
  • The person becomes completely apathetic and indifferent to everything, even what used to be of great interest;
  • there is a feeling of loneliness and detachment.

Gradually, the individual partially or completely loses the ability to establish close relationships with people. Emotions and feelings such as love and joy become inaccessible due to protective emotional avarice.

Creative potential is noticeably reduced. At the same time, there is a growing sense of alienation from the world around us. The person feels that he or she is moving away. On the basis of changes a new self-image is formed. But to express these feelings and feelings is difficult, resulting in the individual with the idea that no one understands it, really closes in.

In turn, against the background of “I do not understand” develops depression, self-doubt, feelings of worthlessness and uselessness. The meaning of life is lost, apathy and exhaustion develops. Guilt and short life orientation are often formed, and self-destructive behavior or aggression against the outside world is noted. If a person abuses alcohol, the outbursts of anger become brighter and more unexpected.

Physiological hyperactivity

It’s all sorts of body reactions:

  • Insomnia;
  • irritability;
  • Reduced concentration of attention;
  • anger outbreaks and other effective reactions;
  • hyper vigilance;
  • Readiness to “run”.

Types of people suffering from PTSD

PTSD affects up to 1% of people and up to 15% of people who have experienced severe injuries. Often the disorder becomes chronic and is combined with other diseases. There are several types of people who can be identified by how they are affected by trauma and what kind of help they need.

  1. Compensated people who have enough support from their immediate environment.
  2. Mild adaptation. Such people need both the support of their loved ones and the help of a psychologist or psychotherapist. The existing imbalance can be easily corrected with timely and correct help.
  3. Mid-heavy adaptation. You need the help of a family, friends, psychologist and, as a rule, a physician. Prevailing emotions: anxiety and fear.
  4. Dis adaptation is severe. Long-term treatment and recovery is required. The list of assistants is selected individually, according to the injuries received.

PTSD in children

Kids are more susceptible to all kinds of stress. The range of critical situations also changes. Separation from the parent, communication with a stranger can become a traumatic situation for a preschooler. For a school-age child – failure to study or relationship with peers.

Instead of leaving reality, there is more often a regression of behavior as a reaction to trauma. Rollback depends on initial development, but everything is possible: enuresis, sucking fingers. Other symptoms are the same, mainly fear and anxiety, psychosomatic. Another issue that the child can not always say about his condition. Parents should be especially vigilant.

PTSD can affect a child’s physical and mental development and cause delay. Among the reactions of protection are aggression and isolation.

Children may not always be able to link their experiences and feelings. Therefore, dreams may simply be nightmares, and it is not clear to express their thoughts. Up to 10-13 years old, it is better to describe what happened to parents.

Children experience PTSD in 5 stages:

  • Despair. There is an acute anxiety in response to what happened and a lack of understanding of what happened.
  • Denial. Sleeplessness, failure, memory loss, dis inhibition, psychosomatic reactions occur.
  • Obsession. Sleep disturbances, fright, constant emotional arousal, instability of emotions are noticed.
  • Working out. The child realizes what happened, the reasons for it, mourning and working out.
  • Completion. There are hopes for a new bright future. The ability to make plans for the future is returned.