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.


A Brief Introduction to the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar Disorder

Since earning a Ph.D. and licensed as a psychologist following a graduate program at the University of Maryland, College Park, Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D. has spent more than three decades providing psychological support to individuals throughout the Rockville area. Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D., treats clients for a number of psychological issues, including trauma-related stress and reactions, PTSD, and bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is primarily a disorder involving Depression, a psychological condition that is characterized also by excessive mood swings or at least a single manic episode. It is usually known to the public as excessive mood swings disorder that carries an individual from the lows of clinical depression to the extreme highs of mania. However, many of Bipolar patients do not suffer from the mood swings on a regular basis or even frequently, showing instead mostly symptoms of depression. Because of the mood swing aspect, the disorder was previously known best as manic-depressive illness. However, we now recognize that episodes of unexplained or confused elation could also be a sign of the disorder even without frank mania. Untreated bipolar disorder can result in erratic, sometimes psychotic or dangerous behavior, sometimes leading to suicidal tendencies and frequently to major disturbances in social, family and work situations.

It is best to treat bipolar disorder medically and psychologically as soon as possible. Individuals with a mild form of the disorder, called Hypomania, should, therefore, remain vigilant for the advancing symptoms of the disorder. Common symptoms of bipolar depression range from long episodes of crying to suicidal ideation. Physical clues may also include insomnia and oversleeping, low energy levels, fatigue, and changes in appetite or strong agitation, mild depressing hallucination, and delusions.

Mania is most commonly signaled by periods of euphoria and impulsive, selfish disorganized gratification seeking behavior, such as a need for constant stimulation, travel, gambling, promiscuity. Manic episodes are usually very unsettling for the family and the individual. A manic individual can become irritated and angry, or may behave like a hungry addict, not only for drugs, and may report beautiful hallucinations and delusions, flashing colors or ‘visions’. It should also be noted that individuals dealing with bipolar disorder may struggle with depression and mania at the same time. As the reader might have noted, extreme symptoms might be classified as psychotic.