10 Symptoms of PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder isn’t just something that affects military members or individuals who have experienced a life-or-death situation. In fact, this condition affects nearly 8 million Americans, and many people may have symptoms without even realizing it.

More than half the population will experience trauma in their lifetime. Trauma can include any distressing incident or series of incidents that damage the psyche and diminish an individual’s ability to cope or function normally. This includes abuse, violence, bereavement, betrayal, natural disasters and injuries.

PTSD may appear months or years after the traumatic event and symptoms can vary. Here are 10 common symptoms associated with PTSD.

  1. Jaw or tooth pain. Stress and tension can cause us to unconsciously clench our jaws or grind our teeth.
  2. Irregular menstruation. The menstrual cycle can respond to changes in stress hormones, causing a period to arrive early or late.
  3. Headaches. Tension headaches are often caused by physical stress or by stress-induced symptoms such as poor posture and poor sleep.
  4. Digestive issues. Stress and trauma can lead to an excess of stomach acid, causing heartburn, and may also lead to other symptoms like IBS, bloating and diarrhea.
  5. Muscle soreness. When your body is holding onto the stress of past trauma, it may involuntarily tense up, leading to muscle soreness and tightness.
  6. Weird or vivid dreams. If you experience nightmares or simply strange dreams regularly, it could be a sign your mind is trying to work through unresolved issues while you sleep.
  7. Appetite changes. The stress hormone glucocorticoid stimulates appetite, which can lead to emotional eating if the body is holding onto past trauma.
  8. Excessive sweating. Sweating is tied to the fight-or-flight response, so if your nervous system is in a regular state of activation because of past trauma, your sweat glands may be overactive.
  9. Hair loss. Chronic tension and stress can lead to premature hair loss or to individuals picking or pulling out their hair.
  10. Stress Rash. Stored trauma and stress may take the form of a stress rash, which generally looks like raised, red and swollen patches of skin.

If you suspect you may be suffering from PTSD, it is important to talk to a mental healthcare provider.