Symptoms of PTSD

It’s normal to have intense reactions to traumatic events such as a car accident, domestic violence, or sexual abuse. Everyone responds differently to these kind of incidents, and some people can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Research shows approximately 20% of people who experience or witness traumatic events develop PTSD, and around 12% of Australians experience PTSD in their lifetime.

While serious car accidents are the leading cause of PTSD in Australia, not everyone with PTSD has gone through a dangerous event. People can develop PTSD after a friend or family member experiences a traumatic incident, or after the death or serious illness of a loved one.

We list some of the signs of PTSD here. It’s important to remember that not everyone with PTSD will encounter all or any these symptoms, and just because you experience these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have PTSD.


Signs of PTSD

Everyone’s reaction to traumatic incidents is different. However, these are some of the common symptoms of PTSD:

  • Flashbacks of the event/s
  • Intrusive thoughts of the event
  • Nightmares about the event
  • Responding in distress to things that remind them of the event
  • Not wanting to talk or think about the event
  • Problems with memory (e.g. not remembering details of the event)
  • Negative thoughts about themselves, others, or the world
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Trouble maintaining relationships
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Emotional numbness
  • Feeling ‘edgy’ or on high alert for danger
  • Being easily startled or scared
  • Self-destructive behaviours (e.g. substance abuse)
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Overwhelming guilt and/or shame.


Help for PTSD

If you or someone you know is having a hard time after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic incident or ongoing incidents, help is available. Call us on 1300 139 703 for help finding the right service for you, or learn more here.