PTSD Symptoms or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms

Part 1:

Overview of the PTSD Symptoms, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms including flashbacks, chronic pains, exhaustion.

Avoidance behavior

Is very much related to procrastinating about giving full attention to the close (at hand), in favor of something that is less immediate. Avoidance behavior is likely to involve a certain sense of trepidation in coming face to face with "oneself". This action may relate directly to an inner state of confusion, or through association.

Victimization as PTSD symptoms

When Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder has not been resolved, a mindset of victimization can persist even long after the event. You will see, quite often, that this role of "the victim" is played out as a well-structured character in order to attract attention, and doesn't necessarily connect with the actual crisis moment. Keep in mind, though, that at the core of this mindset there is emotional residue at play due to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Having been hurt in the past makes a person vulnerable to further hurt later on in life.

Flashbacks and Nightmares

Flashbacks are intrusive thoughts and memories that bring those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress and PTSD face to face with fraught, overwhelming feelings of fear and helplessness. In theory, this is consciousness trying to come to terms with what is alive in the system. Unfortunately, in practice, it often leads to further psychological darkness and withdrawal symptoms. Nightmares related to PTSD are flashbacks in the dream state.

Chronic Pains

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and physical pain very often go hand in hand. When stress as a result of trauma is unresolved, it settles in the body's tissues which results in residual patterns of constriction, which is often identified as a trauma vortex or energy cysts. These constriction patterns can be the cause of physical discomfort in and of themselves, or take up so much energy that they  inhibit proper functioning of other systems in the body – think of the immune system, nervous system and/or digestive system. The most common chronic incidents of pain related to PTSD are in the joints, fibromyalgia and headaches/migraines.


Panic attacks go a step further than anxiety attacks do. They are often triggered by events or circumstances that are associated with past traumatic experience. This can be either on an unconscious level or consciously experienced with intrusive and overwhelming thoughts and feelings derived from past incidents. This often results in a variety of obsessive coping behaviors and/or addictions such as people avoidance, excessive (hand) washing, house cleaning, or substance abuse.

Emotional flooding

This occurs when emotion becomes too intense to be contained, or when there is a mixture of emotions emerging simultaneously. This can happen during or after the onset of trauma. Caution is advised for when this might happen during the therapeutic process, as it could easily lead to overwhelming emotional convulsions and possible retraumatization. Crying, per se, doesn't necessarily indicate that a person is in a state of uncontrollable, overflowing emotion.

Lethargy as PTSD symptoms

PTSD causes a breach in the normal flow of energized resilience within the nervous system. It will often lead to hyperactivation followed by a "breakdown" when exhaustion starts to set in. Lethargy can possibly be related to the state of "breakdown" of the nervous system. A person suffering from PTSD may well linger in this state in order to avoid dealing with high activation and associated feelings caused by trauma.


Post-Traumatic Stress, be it developmental or PTSD, takes up enormous amounts of energy. It is like an identity that needs to be constantly fed to keep itself alive. In time, it can become a mindset that contributes to the avoidance of the underlying emotional turmoil. No amount of sleep will remove the feeling of exhaustion as its cause is on a mental-emotional level.

Denial as PTSD Symptoms

Denial is clearly a coping mechanism to avoid dealing with the emotional strain of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Unfortunately, it often becomes a "conditioned response" mindset--a habit-- and will be used not only when there is an association with past traumatic incidents, but throughout everyday life and social interactions.

Severe Somatic Reactions

Chronic pain is already a severe somatic reaction. Looking deeply into the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, these can contribute to a wide variety of physical conditions including heart attack, stroke, organ dysfunction, and autoimmune diseases. It’s epidemic if you ask me!

Dissociative Identities

Is where the dissociative behavior, as a result of trauma, takes on a life of its own. The separation becomes so marked as to give off the appearance of separate identities taking control.

Hysterical Seizures as PTSD symptoms

In the context of PTSD, these are a result of an extreme internal conflict that results in the overwhelming of the nervous system and resembles an epileptic seizure. They can also be marked by convulsive shaking, tremors and an inability to communicate with others. Shock and the processes of trauma can also include some of these symptoms but to a qualitatively different degree.

Self-Righteous Behavior

PTSD entails a breakdown of one’s identity through feelings of overwhelming helplessness. There is a deeply felt sense of loss of boundaries and containment. To compensate for that, or in an attempt to reclaim a sense of self, there can be the acting out of self-righteous behavior.

Which PTSD symptoms would you add? Leave your comment below.

  • Julie says:

    This was a good read – most PTSD seems to relate to mostly people returning from war – not your everyday person who grew up in a family situation that was never supportive, affectionate, was verbally abused and physically abused.

    • Roland says:

      Post-Traumatic Stress is pervasive and affects many people.

      • Heather says:

        Yes, Roland I agree & this was an awesome read for me. I can finally understand my behaviors as well as those close to me. What do you do to cope in a situation where a person in authority, & you have to control in fleeing, cause you have no where to turn. This person knows trauma, studies it, has it and inflicts it when needed to control situations, this person says they have ID. There’s alot people using it as a demise to gain money, and power at the expense of women they say no one in the world wants, or after they traumatize you they make you think it’s your fault, they do it. They say they specialize in it, yet tell you without even knowing your past. That your PTSD ain’t shit compared to thiers

    • Amanda says:

      I used to think the same thing. I’m the everyday person with long term childhood abuse you described. I was finally diagnosed with PTSD about 3 years ago and after reading more about the symptoms and manifestations I realized I’ve had it for almost as long as I can remember, especially flashbacks. I used to just call them “fits” and I did not understand what they were I just knew when I got them I was no longer in touch with the current reality, very upset, confused, scared, and horrified.

    • Teresa says:

      Julie this is not to case re PTSD. It can result from physical , verbal or any type of abuse .I know that from experience in my own life and that of others. I could give scientific explanations but that would be a great deal of typing and time consuming . I have a back ground in psychology and sadly PTSD AFFECTS veterans and many others who have endured trauma and abuse . I hope this clarifies .

    • Jane says:

      This is very helpful to a layperson struggling to support my 16 year old daughter who presents with all of these symptoms you describe . A multitude of clinicians have been very busy diagnosing her with severe anorexia / suicidal ideation – multiple suicide attempts / self harm ideation / OCD / severe depression / severe anxiety / headaches / joint point = PTSD. I feel like I have been dealing with a plethora of unskilled therapists who have only further traumatised her for a year in and out of lock up acute psychiatric units – she now is refusing to come home and choosing to live in a refuge to protect herself from ME! It is not only idiotic but severely dangerous where this is heading. No one inclusive of medication has been able to help her .
      Any suggestions?
      Is there anyone in Sydney Australia that could help ?
      Desperate mother

  • Kimberly says:

    This is a great article to share with family and friends. All of this has been almost impossible to explain to my loved ones, so they can try to have an understanding.

  • Bonnie says:

    I was diagnosed with PTSD after the sudden and tragic death of my daughter, Madeline in a car accident. I exhibited most of the behaviors described and that in and of itself was terrifying. As the months go by and with therapy, time, prayer, exercise, crying, I am noticing it is subsiding. I mostly avoided people; mostly people in the small town where I live. I told my therapist about my anxieties and she explained that most of my anxiety was about what I perceived these people would say and do. She said they are grieving too for my loss and theirs and they need to express that to you. You avoid them because you live with it all day, every day. She said when I am ready to face people and get it over, let them express themselves. She explained you can’t spend your life avoiding people and situations if I wanted to come to terms with the death of my daughter. She said it will not be easy, but sometimes the anticipation of the event is worse than the reality of it. I take baby steps to accomplish getting over this and she was right; I was well received the other day when I went to the Post Office and ran into an acquaintance, it gave me the courage to go to the library where I was well received again. In other words, they treated me like they did before the tragedy. It’s been 7 months since she died and for 7 months, I stayed for the most part in my house. It felt good to get out and test the waters. Not everyone with PTSD can do this; not everyone can face their demons. PTSD is real and it is terrifying; it is like being a prisoner in your body and mind and it is very exhausting. I wish everyone well with diagnosis and do what you need to do to resolve it.

    • Roland says:

      Thank you for writing here and sharing your story. Being in the presence of others mirrors your own suffering hence we tend to stay away from people when we’re in the affter effects of trauma. It is really to shield oursleves from feeling overwhelmed. It is a very brave endeavor indeed to connect again with people and to face one’s ‘demons’. I happy to hear you are moving and putting yourself to it. It is surely hard work but worthwhile.

  • Nancy says:

    I have finally been diagnosed as having CPTSD after 40+ years of abuse. I am in counselling to start dealing with it and healing. With your post above it really helped me. Especially the part about chronic pain as the body’s way of dealing with the trauma. This side effect really sucks as it is my mind controlling the condition and when it goes into overdrive there is nothing I can do to stop it. Once thing that I find amazing is that whenever I have to go to the ER more than one doctor asks me why do I have CPTSD as I do not look like someone who has it. Grrrrr. I guess since I did not have a gun pointed at my head I am normal. This bothers me as there is not a certain “look” for people with this disorder. I also find a lot of people think I am just going to snap out of it very quickly.

  • Daniel says:

    I was diagnosed with Chronic Post traumatic Stress Disorder due to a near fatal shotgun shooting. Defrag my left arm completely. I now walk around without humerus radius and elbow in 18 pieces. A perfectionist to total zombie of which doctors created with medication as that was the only way to deal with the amount of pain. I had to endure years injecting myself with 3-5 morphine drips daily, including 78 tablets, which took away my memory. I had to re-learn everything even how to remember my name.

  • M says:

    My mother tried to take my life a few times and is a very dangerous person. I have and still am dealing with this. The panic attacks, body pain are bad but all this stress led to stage 4 cancer, which I somehow beat, so far.

  • Patricia says:

    Thank you for the information very informative.

  • Garland says:

    You can certainly see your expertise in the articles you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to say what they believe. Always go after your heart.

  • V. says:

    Keep writing. Thank you for this writing.

  • Carol Sherrell says:

    I grew up in a verbally and emotionally abusive family. I then went on to marry an abusive husband. I thought this might be how a marriage is suppose to look like and knew not to tell anyone what was happening to me behind closed doors. Eighteen years later and me almost being emtionally dead, I was scared enough to call 911, and I have stayed single now for another eighteen years and still have flashbacks from my past. I also lost my speaking voice for most of my life and even my beautiful singing voice. I forged ahead in music at the piano to give me the comfort I was missing creatively. I still find it very hard to trust anyone, as it seems that there are many quite abusive/controlling people in this world and I seem to find them quite easily. For the past 15 years I have been remodeling a mobile home that I bought. I never thought I could do much of anything, but learning to do my own work on my house, has been very empowering. It truly is baby steps. I used to cry all day and curl up in the fetal position, but I have come a long way from that now.

  • Maria says:

    PTSD transference to spouse

  • CindyD says:

    PTSD has also made intimate or close relationships impossible (unwanted) for me. I am obese and feel to afraid to lose the weight for fear of someone taking me and raping me. —
    After my divorce from an angry husband who sometimes resorted to violence and having so much trauma growing up — I am fearful of EVER wanting to even try to be close to a man again. I need help with ADLs and such, but I have refused to have a male be with me alone.
    I guess it is part of the Avoidance symptomology of PTSD. I just do not want to ever try again. The idea of more violence and sexual assault is too scary.
    I have NO IDEA what a SAFE, caring, fulfilling, joyful relationship looks like and I am afraid to try to find it. Plus, I never want sex again. (I had enough of that as a kid I just never want it again, probably due to the flashbacks I have had when intimate in my marriage.)
    I have been alone for 18 years and mostly like it because no one is yelling at me, no one is getting mad at me if dinner is not on the table or the house isn’t picked up; no one is throwing stuff or smashing chairs or punching holes in walls, but it IS hard to be alone all the time. I do suffer with so much Chronic Pain and many of the problems you’ve mentioned above. I have discovered when I am in a roller coaster of Fight (anger, irritations,) or Flight – flight tends to be thoughts of ending my life (escape). I also have lived with DID.

    I wish childhood abuse, and the high numbers of Adverse Childhood Experiences could be prevented or at least drastically reduced for all kids. It has messed up my 5+ decades on this earth to the point of me losing everything from Job, to Marriage, to Home, to Self-worth, to my Health and Sanity.

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