Which of the following is NOT among the common symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can have a significant impact on your day-to-day life.

In most cases, the symptoms develop during the first month after a traumatic event.

But in a minority of cases, there may be a delay of months or even years before symptoms start to appear.

Some people with PTSD experience long periods when their symptoms are less noticeable, followed by periods where they get worse. Other people have constant severe symptoms.

The specific symptoms of PTSD can vary widely between individuals, but generally fall into the categories described below.

Re-experiencing is the most typical symptom of PTSD.

This is when a person involuntarily and vividly relives the traumatic event in the form of:

  • flashbacks
  • nightmares
  • repetitive and distressing images or sensations
  • physical sensations, such as pain, sweating, feeling sick or trembling

Some people have constant negative thoughts about their experience, repeatedly asking themselves questions that prevent them coming to terms with the event.

For example, they may wonder why the event happened to them and if they could have done anything to stop it, which can lead to feelings of guilt or shame.

Trying to avoid being reminded of the traumatic event is another key symptom of PTSD.

This usually means avoiding certain people or places that remind you of the trauma, or avoiding talking to anyone about your experience.

Many people with PTSD try to push memories of the event out of their mind, often distracting themselves with work or hobbies.

Some people attempt to deal with their feelings by trying not to feel anything at all. This is known as emotional numbing.

This can lead to the person becoming isolated and withdrawn, and they may also give up pursuing activities they used to enjoy.

Someone with PTSD may be very anxious and find it difficult to relax. They may be constantly aware of threats and easily startled. 

This state of mind is known as hyperarousal.

Hyperarousal often leads to:

  • irritability
  • angry outbursts
  • sleeping problems (insomnia)
  • difficulty concentrating

Many people with PTSD also have a number of other problems, including:

PTSD sometimes leads to work-related problems and the breakdown of relationships.

PTSD can affect children as well as adults. Children with PTSD can have similar symptoms to adults, such as having trouble sleeping and upsetting nightmares.

Like adults, children with PTSD may also lose interest in activities they used to enjoy, and may have physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches.

Other symptoms you may notice in children with PTSD include:

  • difficult behaviour
  • avoiding things related to the traumatic event
  • re-enacting the traumatic event again and again through their play

It's normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, but in most people these improve naturally over a few weeks.

You should visit your GP if you or your child are still having problems about 4 weeks after the traumatic experience, or the symptoms are particularly troublesome.

Your GP will want to discuss your symptoms with you in as much detail as possible.

They'll ask whether you have experienced a traumatic event in the recent or distant past and whether you have re-experienced the event through flashbacks or nightmares.

Your GP can refer you to mental health specialists if they feel you'd benefit from treatment.

Find out more about treating PTSD

Page last reviewed: 13 May 2022
Next review due: 13 May 2025

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health issue that develops in some people “who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). It is widely believed that PTSD is reserved for veterans who survived traumatic experiences during wartime, but PTSD can happen to anyone. Even those who did not directly experience a trauma, but had witnessed a life-threatening event may experience symptoms of this disorder.

Although each person may experience symptoms differently, there are four main types to be aware of:

Re-experiencing symptoms are those that make you feel as though you are reliving the event. Flashbacks, nightmares and bad memories are examples of re-experiencing symptoms. These symptoms, particularly flashbacks, can also have physical effects such as rapid heartbeat or sweating. According to the NIMH, “Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing symptoms.”

Avoiding certain places, people and situations that trigger bad memories is common when experiencing these symptoms. One may also avoid thinking about or discussing the event and may change their daily routine for this reason. For example, someone who was mugged while walking home from work may choose to avoid their usual route, or change their transportation method to driving.

Cognitive symptoms include having negative thoughts about oneself or the world. According to the National Center for PTSD, those experiencing cognitive symptoms may have difficulty trusting people and may find it hard to feel happy. They may have trouble recalling important aspects of the event and they may feel guilt or blame.

  1. Hyperarousal (Reactivity) Symptoms

Instead of being triggered by a particular person or situation, arousal symptoms are constant. This can include feeling stressed, angry, and jumpy or easily startled. A person experiencing these reactivity symptoms may have trouble sleeping or concentrating. He or she may also start to participate in unhealthy or risky behaviors such as smoking, using alcohol or driving irresponsibly.

Feeling fear during or after a traumatic situation is normal. However, those who continue to experience symptoms for more than a month, or those who feel their symptoms are affecting their relationships and daily routines may be diagnosed with PTSD. It is important to keep in mind that these symptoms must be caused by the event itself, and are separate from any symptoms one may experience due to substance abuse, mental illness or any other reason.

If you or someone you know are experiencing symptoms and may be suffering from PTSD, it is not difficult to find help. Please contact our Access Center at 1-800-300-0628.




Victim Support
Victim Support help anyone affected by crime, including friends and family. It doesn’t matter when the crime took place. They provide a free and confidential support 24/7, for people affected by crime and traumatic events. This is regardless of whether you have contacted the police. They provide information, advice, and emotional and practical support.

Telephone: 08 08 16 89 111
Email: www.victimsupport.org.uk/help-and-support/get-help/supportline/email-supportline/
Webchat: www.victimsupport.org.uk/help-and-support/get-help/support-near-you/live-chat/
Website: www.victimsupport.org.uk

Anxiety, grief, and trauma

Anxiety UK
Anxiety UK is a user-led charity which supports people with anxiety disorders, including PTSD.

Telephone: 03444 775 774
Address: Anxiety UK, Nunes House, 447 Chester Road, Manchester, M16 9HA
Text: 07537 416 905
Website: www.anxietyuk.org.uk

Assistance Support and Self Help in Surviving Trauma (ASSIST)
ASSIST Trauma Care employs experienced therapists trained to work with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the after-effects of trauma in line with current evidence-based treatments. They are a charity, but you have to pay for therapy.

Phone: 01788 551 919
Email (online form): www.assisttraumacare.org.uk/contact/
Website: www.assisttraumacare.org.uk

Military and trauma

Combat Stress
Combat Stress supports current and ex-military of all ages who have mental health conditions. And their families.

Telephone (ex-military): 0800 138 1619
Telephone (current military): 0800 323 4444
Helpline text: 07537 173 683
Address: Tyrwhitt House, Oaklawn Road, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 0BX
Website: www.combatstress.org.uk

PTSD Resolution
PTSD Resolution provides counselling for former armed forces, reservists and families.

Telephone: 0300 302 0551
Address: PTSD Resolution Ltd, c/o Chantry House, 22 Upperton Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 1BF
Website: www.ptsdresolution.org

Veterans UK
Veterans UK is a government body offering support for veterans. They provide welfare support for veterans of any age, and their families through the Veterans Welfare Service and the Veterans UK helpline.

Telephone (UK only): 0808 1914 218
Telephone (overseas): +44 1253 866 043
Address: Veterans UK, Ministry of Defence, Norcross, Thornton, Cleveleys, FY5 3WP
Website: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/veterans-uk

Torture and trauma

Freedom from Torture
Freedom from Torture offers one-to-one therapy, group activities and support for physical pain to survivors of torture. This includes people with complex PTSD. For asylum seekers and refugees.

Telephone: 020 7697 7777
Email: through the website www.freedomfromtorture.org/contact-us
Website: www.freedomfromtorture.org

Child abuse and childhood abuse

The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC)
NAPAC supports adult survivors of childhood abuse.

Telephone: 0808 801 0331
Address: NAPAC, 7-14 Great Dover St, London, SE1 4YR
Website: www.napac.org.uk

Help for Adult Victims of Child Abuse (HAVOCA)
HAVOCA is run by survivors for adult survivors of child abuse. They provide support, friendship, and advice adults whose lives have been affected by childhood abuse. They have an online forum for survivors.

Email: www.havoca.org/every-survivor-has-the-right-to-become-a-thriver/contact-us/
Website: www.havoca.org/resources/support-groups/

Sexual and domestic violence and relationships

Rape Crisis
Rape Crisis have a network of independent rape crisis centres.

Address: Rape Crisis, Suite E4, Hanover Walk, Leeds, LS3 1AB
Webchat: www.rapecrisis.org.uk/get-help/live-chat-helpline/about-the-live-chat-helpline/
Website: www.rapecrisis.org.uk

Refuge support female survivors of domestic abuse. They provide legal information, help with housing and money, and support with domestic abuse services.

Telephone (National Domestic Abuse Helpline): 0808 2000 247
Email: www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/en/Contact-us
Webchat: www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/en/Chat-to-us-online
Website: www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/

Women’s Aid
Women’s Aid support female survivors of domestic abuse.

Webchat: www.chat.womensaid.org.uk/
Website: www.womensaid.org.uk/
Website (service directory): www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-abuse-directory

Survivors UK
There for any man, boy or non-binary person who has ever experienced unwanted sexual activity, such as words, images or touch.

Telephone: 0203 5983 898
Website: www.survivorsuk.org/

RISE supports perpetrators of domestic violence in their rehabilitation journey. They guide perpetrators through a process of change, addressing behaviours and attitudes. They provide group and one-to-one sessions, focused on self-reflection.

Telephone: 07495 099 694
Website: www.risemutual.org/interventions-perpetrators/

Respect Phoneline
Provide help for domestic violence perpetrators.

Telephone (for perpetrators & those supporting): 0808 8024 040
Telephone (for male victims of domestic abuse): 0808 801 0327
Email (for perpetrators & those supporting):
Email (for male victims of domestic abuse):
Webchat (for perpetrators & those supporting): www.respectphoneline.org.uk/contact-us/
Webchat (for male victims of domestic abuse): www.mensadviceline.org.uk/
Website: www.respectphoneline.org.uk