The Four Major Symptoms of PTSD


PTSD pic

A Licensed Psychologist who has spent more than 30 years working with clients on a wide range of mental health issues, Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D., operates a suburban private practice in Rockville, Maryland. In his work with individuals, families, and children, Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D., has helped many clients cope with post-traumatic stress disorder so that they can lead healthy and productive lives.

When considering a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, there are four main symptoms to look for in the patient. The first involves the patient reliving the traumatic event through nightmares, flashbacks, or through other conscious external stimuli (sights, sounds, smells, etc.) that are referred to as triggers.

The second symptom involves the patient actively trying to avoid situations that elicit memories of the traumatic event. For example, a patient who experienced a traumatic car accident may avoid driving or even riding in cars altogether.

Third, a patient may exhibit a negatively changed belief or feeling about something based upon the trauma they experienced. This can involve bouts of paranoia and/or isolation as the patient attributes the trauma to interpersonal relationships.

Finally, the patient may present with hyperarousal, meaning they may constantly be “on edge” due to an ongoing perception of being in danger. Hyperarousal can manifest itself as irritability, insomnia, or difficulty concentrating.