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The Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

2. Nightmares or Flashbacks

It’s very common for those with PTSD to suffer nightmares or flashbacks—a symptom known as re-experiencing—in which the patient suddenly and vividly re-lives the traumatic event in a repetitive manner. Re-experiencing can enter dreams or come on suddenly in waking images or sensations of physical and emotional pain and fear. It may cause both children and adult sufferers to have sleeping difficulties and anxiety leaving the safety of home.

These symptoms can be extremely terrifying for the patient because they are reliving their trauma all over again. These nightmares or flashbacks can be triggered by something whether its thoughts, smells, something someone said, or a noise. “Those [triggers] go to the deep part of your brain. Your instincts take over,” says Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, MD, MPH, a retired military psychiatrist to Health.com.

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