Anyone, at any point in their life, may experience or witness a traumatic event. To be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must have experienced or witness a traumatic event. However, while trauma and PTSD go hand-in-hand, not all those who are traumatized develop PTSD.
The Difference: PTSD vs. Trauma
The biggest difference between PTSD and trauma is not the severity of the event or trauma, but the length and severity of symptoms. After a traumatic event, almost everyone experiences at least some of the symptoms of PTSD (i.e. bad dreams, flashbacks, etc.). While these are normal reactions to a traumatic event, most people eventually recover from it and resume their normal life. However, when these symptoms persist and worsen, it may be categorized as PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD include:
- Re-Experiencing Symptoms
- Avoidance of activities, places, or things that remind you of the traumatic event
- Arousal Symptoms (hypervigilance, irritability)
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