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What is PTSD & How Do You Develop It?

PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. With this disorder you can have flashbacks to a traumatic event or events that either happened to you or it could be from something that you witnessed too. Or you could develop nightmares, uncontrollable thoughts of the event that occurred could pop into your head at anytime but also when something or someone triggers you to remember pieces of what happened. PTSD also causes severe anxiety that can sometimes be extremely severe or the person could also experience a panic attack because of all the anxiety they feel.  

PTSD is not a fun thing to have to live with. I know first-hand the effects that it can have on your mental and emotional health. My one therapist told me that I just keep going through traumatic event after traumatic event ever since childhood and that’s part of the reason I am not getting better with my PTSD symptoms for different events that took place.

There is no cure for PTSD, however, some people can actually resolve some of their symptoms with proper treatment which includes, seeing a therapist regularly that you are comfortable with. There is a pill people with PTSD can take to help reduce their fight or flight complex and it can also help reduce nightmares and flashbacks. It is actually a blood pressure pill that was found to help treat patients with PTSD and it is called; Minipress and the generic name for it is called Prazosin.

I know of this medication because I am also taking it currently and have now been on them for a few years. I only take a 1mg capsule at night but it really does help with flashbacks and nightmares involving the traumatic event(s). I had asked my doctor if I could try it during the day to see if it helps with my anxiety during the day because I often go into flight or fight mode.

I have had more traumatic events in my life than some people twice my age. I have been raped more than once, physically and mentally abused over a long period of time, had gotten into car accidents (that contributed to my PTSD and now driving is hard for me to do because I always think I am going to get into another accident. I get anxious on the highway to the point of panic attacks.), miscarriages, an ectopic pregnancy, and a few other things that I cannot recall at the moment which is actually a good thing for me.

PTSD can develop a within a month of the traumatic event but it could also develop years later instead. These symptoms can cause substantial problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal everyday tasks.


PTSD symptoms are typically clustered into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  1. Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  2. Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  3. Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
  4. Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event


Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people, or the world
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Feeling detached from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb

Changes in physical and emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions may include:

  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability, angry outbursts, or aggressive behavior
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame

Those symptoms listed above can really hurt someone emotionally and mentally. These mixed feelings can be hard to deal with. Flashbacks can make you feel the way you did at the time the traumatic event occurred. It can sometimes feel terrifying. You should never judge someone with PTSD because unless they tell you what they have gone through, you will never know what really happened to them. Everyone is unique in their own way. Different symptoms can occur for every person out there with this diagnosis.

PTSD can also be felt at different intensity levels. Certain people may not be as bothered by their symptoms and can function normally and there are other people that just dwell on everything that happened to them, even if it happened a long time ago, and they could be incapacitated. Some people with PTSD develop agoraphobia which is a mental health disorder where you feel like you cannot leave your house for any reason, and then it turns into an even bigger problem.

You basically can develop PTSD after going through something that you felt was traumatic. It could have been something bad and horrible happened to you, or it could also be from something you witness as well such as a bad car accident, someone getting beaten or, even worse, murdered, witnessing a loved one being abused, someone getting raped, among many other things.

Samantha View All

Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog

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