There are various trauma-related conditions, all of which share similar symptoms. They all develop following a traumatic event.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the best-known condition in this category – which is known to impair life significantly. Other conditions include Acute Stress Disorder and Adjustment Disorder.

Symptoms and their length differ slightly from condition-to-condition. They often fall into three different classes – re-experiencing, avoidance, and psychological.

Symptoms can take on a wide range of forms

What is PTSD & Trauma Conditions?

PTSD & Trauma-based conditions: PTSD and Trauma-based conditions refer to the various conditions that involve traumatic events or memories. They develop due to being involved in or seeing a distressing or frightening event. Whilst Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the best-known condition in this area, other conditions exist too. These conditions can have a marked impact on an individual’s life. But with the right treatment, recovery is possible.

There are a few key differences to remember with this set of conditions, depending on the disorder present:

  • Acute Stress Disorder normally won’t last for more than a month.
  • If it does, then PTSD will probably be diagnosed.
  • Complex PTSD is relevant if an individual has experienced long-term trauma.
  • Adjustment Disorder refers to a situation where a stressor (typically not too traumatic), causes an individual suffering for a period of between weeks to six months.

Re-experiencing symptoms

Some symptoms are considered to be “re-experiencing”. This refers to when a person is experiencing their trauma over again. This could be while awake or asleep.

Someone who is re-experiencing may have constant thoughts about the event. As part of rumination, they may wonder why the event happened to them.

They may also try and work out if there was something they could’ve done to stop the event. Feelings of guilt and shame are commonplace as a result:

  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Witnessing distressing images
  • Disturbed thoughts
  • Physical feelings of pain or sickness
  • Ruminating over what might have been

Avoidance symptoms

Avoidance symptoms refers to the actions that a person who has PTSD or a trauma-based condition will do.

When a person is unable to engage in avoidance, it can be very distressing. These actions are clear symptoms:

  • Avoiding certain people that remind an individual of the traumatic event
  • Avoiding certain places that remind an individual of the traumatic event
  • Changing the subject if a similar topic is discussed
  • Isolating themselves from others, trouble trusting them
  • Withdrawing from normal day-to-day activities

Psychological symptoms

Perhaps well-known are the psychological symptoms associated with Trauma-related conditions. They are known to cause a range of psychological symptoms, especially if a person has disturbed thoughts that are frequent.

Anxiety is common, as is the feeling of being “on edge”.  It is possible the individual will adopt coping strategies that have the potential to harm them, such as abusing drugs or alcohol. Self-harm and suicidal ideation is also relatively common. Others include:

  • Anger
  • Poor concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

The impact these symptoms have

As discussed, not all of these symptoms are present for all types of PTSD & Trauma-based conditions. Therefore, there will be differing responses.

For example, an individual that has Complex PTSD may struggle to control their emotions, causing them to lash out at others. They may even exhibit physical symptoms like headaches and chest pains.

Self-harm and substance abuse is a common behaviour too for those with Complex PTSD. As a result of this behaviour, relationships can be difficult.

Acute Stress Disorder commonly involves feelings of dissociation – such as feeling detached from one’s body, numbness, and forgetting certain elements of their experience.

All trauma-related conditions often run comorbidly with other mental health conditions such as Anxiety, Depression and substance abuse.


The symptoms of any trauma-related condition certainly have the potential to be harmful for the individual, and also those around them.

All trauma-conditions are very distressing conditions. This isn’t an exhaustive list of symptoms, with many other symptoms fitting in the above categories. These symptoms though do cause trouble, and as a result, seeking treatment is important.

See Also

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