Below is a list of possible PTSD symptoms:
Outbursts of rage, acting out of control emotionally and/or physically, yelling and screaming, throwing things, physically harming self or others, seems as if something takes you over, low self esteem, panic attacks, bed wetting, thumb sucking, frequent urination, addictions, brain fog, constipation, sleep disorders, excessive tooth decay, memory loss, lack of concentration, codependency, insufficient brain functions, ie inability to find the sought after words, nervousness, fear, anxiety, easily startled, control issues, irrational thinking, inability to handle stress rationally, headaches, excessive thirst, fatigue, body and muscle pain, tension, constant state of vigilance, on guard, ready for next disaster, watching for any sign of threat or perceived danger, tingling extremities, numbness in limbs, fingers, hands, feet and toes, cold extremities, trouble falling asleep, no REM sleep, extreme fatigue or increased need for sleep and rest, depression, sadness, loneliness, isolation, feelings of hopelessness, trembling or uncontrollable shaking, extreme overreaction to stress especially when perceived as life threatening emotionally or physically, emotional immaturity, emotional blackouts, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, inability to feel and connect emotionally or express affection, uncomfortable with expressing feelings of any kind, emotionally numb. This emotional numbness may even result in the inability to feel compassion or love for another.
I know many of these symptoms relate to a whole host of other diseases, disorders and conditions. The reason I have listed these possible symptoms in such a comprehensive way is because, I wanted you to get a feeling for the way PTSD can affect every area of your life and your health. This mental and emotional disorder has a profound effect on the state of health of the physical body as well.
A few ways in which the body is affected are digestion is slowed down or stopped all together. All chemical reactions brought on by the fight or flight mechanisms of the body go into full force causing a feeling of wide-eyed attention to possible dangers and a nervous sense of watching called hyper vigilance. Bodily functions and elimination are put on hold with an ending result of built up toxins and constipation. Dehydration is more prevalent and also a need for a much higher than normal intake of vitamins and minerals to keep the body nourished and functional.
Here is a personal story to help give you a clearer picture of PTSD.
Susan believed that she had a normal upbringing and a fairly normal family experience even though there always seemed to be tension between herself and her Father; a tension which she never really understood. She was married at a young age and ultimately had five children in 24 years of marriage. As Susan continued to live life as a woman, a wife and a mother of five, it always seemed that life was hard for her and that she was constantly under some type of non-specific stress and anxiety. After a less than fulfilling marriage characterized by a lack of nurturing and a void of emotional or physical support, she decided to divorce and strike out on her own.
This divorce trauma was intense for all members of the family, and in particular for the children, even though Susan seemed unaware of the degree of stress created by this situation. She kept her nose to the grindstone as a method of survival. She continued on as a single mom with stress unimaginable to her before she had decided on this life course. She was so lacking in physical and emotional support, and as a result the children were also neglected. Susan was unaware of the emotional needs of the children, because she was intensely focused on the physical needs of the family and on survival.
As things progressed, Susan had an emotional/mental breakdown and felt she could no longer care for the children by herself. She met a man, took her children to live with their Father, and moved to a new city to start again. Life was miserable without the children and she vowed to get her life together in order to bring the children back under her roof again. This man she met was to be the answer to her creating a family where love, affection, support and nurturing were top priority. But, unfortunately, this new man was as damaged emotionally, or more so, than Susan by his own PTSD symptoms. Susan continued to attempt to create her dream and to convince everyone to play their role in her dream of the perfect family. However, her new man was not any more emotionally capable of partaking in her dream than were her ex-husband or her Father before that.
Life happened and Susan, by fate or by luck, happened into a field which surrounded her with all varieties of energy and alternative healing practitioners. More than once, during a therapy session, an eerie scenario of childhood sexual abuse came to the surface. It surfaced year after year, at least once or twice a year, through the various alternative energy healing modalities she was fortunate to have access to. These emotional releases continued for 15 years or so.
Bottom line, Susan had been repeatedly sexually abused by a grandfather as a very young child. These traumas, which were too much for her emotional system to handle were disassociated from, and never consciously known by her physical presence even though these encounters continued to shape the experiences of her life. These childhood traumas caused a dysfunctional reaction within her to stress, threat, danger, men, and fear. The emotional blackouts or panic attacks made her role as a mother and a wife very confused and muddled and greatly affected her decision making abilities and practical living skills.
Susan had untreated PTSD and hence many of the symptoms listed above. She unknowingly passed this trauma down to her children especially the girls who picked up her negative feelings towards men and her stress trauma in utero. The children were again affected when they were abandoned by their Mother, when she left them with their Father in another state. To make this story even more tragic Susan’s daughter passed this stress disorder to her own daughter; still undetected and undiagnosed.
Herein lays the tragedy of undiagnosed PTSD which began when Susan was only one or two years old and was not fully uncovered until she was in her fifties.
***Children of alcoholics or drug addicted parents are highly likely to be affected with PTSD. They live in an environment with little or no stability and constant survival fears. Persons facing any life threatening disaster, living in a war zone, experiencing a natural disaster such as earthquakes, floods etc. are highly susceptible to PTSD as well. See my first PTSD article for more causes of this disorder.