Symptoms of PTSD and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Symptoms of PTSD and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Part 3 overview of the symptoms of PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder including amnesia, sleeplessness, hypervigilance, and anger.


Is to be constantly ‘on guard’ and ‘on the look-out’ for potential danger. It is a common behavioral symptom of those suffering PTSD or Trauma.


The occurrence of amnesia is when you can’t recall or don’t have access to your memory. Usually, it is only partial but in severe cases, people can even forget their identity. This is something that can definitely happen to people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress. I have seen, many times during treatment that people go blank at a certain point during recall. It is a survival mechanism in order to block off certain memories that are associated with overwhelming emotions. That said, while carefully unfolding the therapeutic process and tracking sensations, it is very probable that they remember again that which had previously seemed inaccessible.

Emotional Instability as symptoms of PTSD

This state indicates that a sense of containment has been lost. Emotional instability shows itself as a continuous movement from one emotional state to another, often to wide ranging extremes. There is constant opting in or out of the current emotional state through intense levels of identification. Persistent emotional instability can lead to bipolar, depression and/or schizophrenia disorder.


It is not uncommon to be constantly on high alert while suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This state of hyper-vigilance serves as a protective mechanism. To relax would entail confronting the emotions associated with a traumatic event or period in one’s life, as a result of which, those who suffer PTSD are likely to have disturbed sleep or insomnia. This develops into a guarded posture in order to avoid coming face to face with overwhelming emotions like: grief, helplessness, sorrow, bereavement etc.

Emotional Inertia/Numbness

Dissociation is inherent to the mechanism of PTSD and Developmental Trauma. When an emotionally disruptive state with an accompanying highly energized charge of the nervous system continues for too long, it can produce further dissociation leading to an emotionally numbing state of inertia. Again, this is a survival strategy to cope with the overwhelming effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This state is perceived as disembodiment and being extremely out of touch with one’s feeling sensation

Complex Syndromes

Dissociation is a process of fragmentation where a person who suffers Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is forced out of embodiment/feeling into emotion/thought. When there is no resolve and there has been repeated exposure to traumatic events it can lead to furthering complexity into dissociated emotional/thoughts states and emotional deadness. Complex syndromes are most often associated to Developmental Trauma where there has been repeated exposure to traumatic incidences. It can lead to: anxiety disorders/phobias, dissociative disorders, manic depression, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder – to name but a few.

Depersonalization as symptoms of PTSD

I would put this under dissociative disorders. It is a state induced by trauma that involves severe dissociation. Sufferers of depersonalization report that it’s as if their feelings, emotions and sensations are separate from themselves. This state can and is often triggered by high anxiety levels. It comprises a breakdown of the sense of self – hence it’s dissociative in nature.


Is to have and seek multiple sexual contacts. Seeking sexual pleasure can be a coping mechanism to avoid and divert away from getting into touch with deeper held emotions related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In terms of Developmental trauma, the inability to bond on a deeper level can be due to compromised attachment bonds.


Being suicidal is when you have thoughts of wanting to take your own life. The effects of trauma can be so overbearing that a person feels compelled to end their life. Suicidal tendencies are often present with those suffering from mental disorders.


Disconnection is somewhat similar in nature to depersonalization but of a more benign form. Being disconnected from one’s feelings and emotions often goes together with being in denial of one’s state of mind and being self-righteous.

Anger as symptoms of PTSD

Anger is an emotion that attempts to reclaim lost boundaries when they have been breached or are about to be breached. In a healthy expression, there is no need for that emotion to keep acting itself out. With severely overwhelming cases, where no sense of containment can be re-established, anger can be acted out repeatedly, without resolution. In this case, the anger only holds up a perceived notion of protection to prevent getting into touch with deeper emotions like: sadness, and an overpowering sense of helplessness.

» Dive deeper into this topic by reading The Trauma Essential Series →

Which symptoms of PTSD did you resonate with? Leave your comment below.

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