Signs and Symptoms of PTSD - Calgary Therapy

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Signs and Symptoms of PTSD Trauma, Calgary Counselling

“I’m on edge more than usual.”    “I wake up with disturbing images.”

“I’m having trouble trusting.”     “I can’t concentrate like I used to.”

PTSD may not look the same for everyone. Flashbacks are common, but other symptoms can vary.

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is more common than you think. Here is some basic information.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) describes PTSD as the development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor.  The person’s response to the event involves intense fear, helplessness, or horror. In children, however,  the response may manifest as disorganized or agitated behaviour.

“Chances are you,
or someone you know,

will experience PTSD”

What are the causes of PTSD?

Trauma can occur through experiencing or witnessing any of the following:

1. War, military combat       2. An undesired sexual act

3. Childhood abuse: physical, emotional, sexual, bullying

4. Accidents or serious physical injury

5. Abuse, domestic violence, assaults

6. Serious threats to one’s well-being: physical, emotional or psychological

7. Spiritual abuse          8. Natural disasters

What are PTSD Symptoms?

Symptoms of PTSD may include a combination of the following. Check off all that may apply to you:

☐ flashbacks or nightmares
☐ avoidance of triggers
☐ difficulty sleeping
☐ irritability or agitation
☐ disorganized thinking
☐ using addictions to numb symptoms (alcohol, drugs, gambling…)
☐ numbness or emotional/physical freezing
☐ hyper-vigilance

How are Emotions affected?

Feelings will become disorganized and can include. Do you relate to any of these?

☐ lack of motivation, ineffectiveness
☐ fear, feeling constantly threatened
☐ shame and guilt
☐ despair or hopelessness
☐ hostility
☐ socially uneasy
☐ identity confusion
☐ inability to take action, feeling powerless
☐ feeling permanently damaged
☐ stuck in maladaptive thinking, feelings or behaviours
☐ depressed or sad

Can PTSD be treated?

Yes it can. Without treatment, PTSD can cause significant impairment in personal, marital, social or occupational functioning. 

Counselling psychology and psychotherapy are proven to help work through the causes of PTSD and alleviate symptoms.

“Everyone deserves to live in a mind that knows peace.”

Contact a local therapist. The first step to a better life is in seeking to get the help you need.

by author, Michael Haggstrom, Doctor in Counselling, Specialist in the Treatment of PTSD & Trauma – Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Recommended Reading

In The Body Keeps the Score, he transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring—specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust.

Trauma is neither a disease nor a disorder, but rather an injury caused by fright, helplessness and loss that can be healed by engaging our innate capacity to self-regulate high states of arousal and intense emotion

Will the person you love ever get better? What can you do to promote healing? Where can you turn when you just can’t cope? From experienced trauma specialists this compassionate guide is packed with information

It is now thought that people who have been traumatized hold an implicit memory that is often expressed in nightmares, flashbacks, startle responses, and dissociative behaviors. In essence, the body of the traumatized individual refuses to be ignored.

Also, Check these out!
Healing Trauma & PTSD


Treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder in rape victims: A comparison between cognitive-behavioral procedures and counseling. Foa, Edna B.; Rothbaum, Barbara O.; Riggs, David S.; Murdock, Tamera B. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 59(5), Oct 1991, 715-72
Skills training in affective and interpersonal regulation followed by exposure: A phase-based treatment for PTSD related to childhood abuse. Cloitre, Marylene; Koenen, Karestan C.; Cohen, Lisa R.; Han, Hyemee Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 70(5), Oct 2002, 1067-1074
Appendix E: DSM Criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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