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Man waking up from a bad dream

Coping With

In this series:
When Terror Strikes
Post-traumatic StressWhat Is It?
Traumatic Stress Will End!
Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress

Related topics:
Will All People Ever Love One Another?
When Someone You Love Dies

Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress

Many trauma survivors find themselves reexperiencing the trauma in their mind. Survivors usually can't control this or stop it from occurring. The consequences may include:

Distressed woman

  • Flashbacks—feelings that the trauma is happening again

  • Bad dreams and nightmares

  • A tendency to be very startled by loud noises or by someone unexpectedly coming up to them from behind

  • A shaky feeling and sweatiness

  • A pounding heart or trouble breathing

  • A feeling of upset when reminded of the trauma by something seen, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted

  • Anxiety or fear—the feeling of being in danger again

  • Trouble controlling emotions because reminders lead to sudden anxiety, anger, or upset

  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep

  • Agitation and a constant state of being on the lookout for danger

  • An emotional shutdown or emotional numbness

  • Trouble having loving feelings or feeling any strong emotions

  • The feeling that surroundings are strange or unreal

  • Loss of interest in things that were previously enjoyable

  • Trouble remembering important parts of what happened during the trauma

  • A feeling of being disconnected from the world around them and the things happening to them

Appeared in Awake!  August 22, 2001

Picture Credit: Army scene: U.S. Signal Corps photo

Copyright 2001 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.