Negative changes in beliefs:
- Your veteran may no longer have religious or spiritual faith.
- Your veteran may not have positive or loving feelings toward other people and may stay away from relationships.
- Your veteran may think the world is completely dangerous and no one can be trusted.
Avoiding reminders of the trauma:
- Your veteran may not want to talk about the event(s) or be around people or places that remind them of the event(s).
- Your veteran also may feel emotionally numb, detached from friends and family, and lose interest in activities.
- Your veteran may avoid crowds because they feel dangerous.
Repeatedly thinking about the trauma:
- Your veteran may find that thoughts about the trauma come to mind even when they don’t want them to.
- Your veteran might also have nightmares or flashbacks about the trauma or may become upset when something reminds them of the event.
Being constantly alert or on guard:
- Your veteran may be easily startled or angered, irritable or anxious, and preoccupied with staying safe.
- Your veteran may want to have their back to a wall in a restaurant or waiting room.
- A loud noise can startle your veteran easily.
- If someone bumps into your veteran, they might fly into a rage.
- Your veteran may also find it hard to concentrate or sleep or have physical problems, like constipation, rapid breathing, muscle tension, rapid heart rate, chronic pain, headaches, stomach pain, diarrhea, tightness or burning in the chest, muscle cramps, or low back pain.
Problems in daily living:
- Your veteran may start having problems functioning in their job, at school, or in social situations.
- Your veteran may drink, use drugs, or smoke too much.
- Your veteran may drive aggressively.
- Your veteran may neglect their health.
Guilt and shame:
- Your veteran may feel guilty that they did not do more to prevent the trauma.
- Your veteran may feel ashamed because during the trauma they acted in ways that you would not otherwise have done.
- Your veteran may feel responsible for what happened.
- Your veteran may feel guilty because others were injured or killed and they survived.
Anger and irritability:
- Your veteran may yell and scream at their partner or spouse.
- Your veteran may have less patience with their children.
- Your veteran may overreact to very small misunderstandings.
- Anger can make your veteran feel irritated and cause them to be easily set off.
Maybe it seems like these symptoms are random or come from nowhere but that’s not the case. So let’s take a look at the brain and its role in PTSD