What are the symptoms of PTSD?

- Flashbacks

For patients with PTSD, "flashbacks" may be triggered when they see certain words and objects or when they are physically present in particular environments. They would feel as if they have returned to the scene where the images, sounds, smells and pains of the traumatic events are likely to reappear, thereby causing fear and tension again. 。

- Escape

The patients may avoid objects or occasions that remind them of traumatic events. They will deliberately make themselves busy in order to avoid recalling traumatic events. In some cases, the patients may deny the psychological effects caused by the traumatic events and become emotionally numb and lonely.

- Over-alertness and Anxiety
The patients stay in a high level of alertness for a prolonged period of time in order to avoid the crisis as much as possible. However, since the patients have been over-alert, they would often feel anxious and find it difficult to fall asleep, fearing that the traumatic events will appear again in their dreams. They will also have mood swings and be prone to get irritated or frightened.

Apart from the major symptoms mentioned above, patients may also develop problems such as muscle pain, diarrhoea, abnormal heartbeats, headache, nausea, self-harm due to excessive pressure.

Can PTSD be treated?

- Psychotherapy 

Uses cognitive-behavioral therapy (a kind of talk-based treatment) in a safe environment to guide patients to recognise problems of the trauma and change their negative perceptions, thereby helping them to face and eliminate fear.

- Drug Therapy 

Some patients may need to take drugs in order to relieve their symptoms of PTSD. These drugs may cause side effects and doctor prescription is required.

How to prevent PTSD?

- Talk to Trusted People
Meet and chat with family members, friends, or people who have similar traumatic experience, for sharing own feelings can help you to face the traumatic events and calm down. 

- Practice Mindfulness
Practice mindfulness through meditation, Tai Chi or yoga. By focusing more on the surrounding objects, you can calm down and understand yourself, which will in turn help to release anxiety and stress. 

- Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Try to maintain healthy routines and lifestyle. Having adequate sleep, a balanced and regular diet, and do moderate exercise can help to relieve stress. 

- Accept Own Status   

Try to accept that you may temporarily have a poor mental state, insomnia, and various physical and mental problems after a traumatic event has taken place. By accepting the facts, you will understand that such reactions are normal and only temporary. 

- Consult Professional Advice
You may consult professional opinions of psychiatrists or clinical psychologists in order to determine if counseling and treatment are necessary. 

Last Updated: Jan 2020
Please note that all medical health articles featured on our website have been reviewed by Quality Healthcare doctors. The articles are for general information only and are not medical opinions nor should the contents be used to replace the need for personal consultation with a qualified health professional on the reader’s medical condition.