Common PTSD Symptoms for Combat Veterans and Trauma Victims

Common PTSD Symptoms for Combat Veterans and Trauma Victims
By Andy Eckley
The three main groups of symptoms often associated with PTSD and severe trauma are:

Hyper-arousal symptoms:

  • Having a difficult time falling or staying asleep most nights.
  • Feeling irritable or often having outbursts of anger for no reason
  • Having difficulty concentrating on tasks
  • Feeling constantly "on guard" or feel afraid that danger is around every corner.
  • Feeling "jumpy" and easily startled from sounds

Re-experiencing symptoms:

  • Frequently having thoughts or memories about a traumatic event.
  • Having recurrent nightmares of traumatic events.
  • Acting or feeling as though the traumatic event were happening again, sometimes called a "flashback." when triggered by a sound, sight, memory
  • Having strong feelings of fear when reminded of the traumatic event.
  • Being physically responsive to reminders of your traumatic events, such as experiencing a surge in adrenaline resulting in increased heart rate and sweating.

Avoidance symptoms:

  • Avoiding thoughts, memories of your traumatic events by distracting yourself
  • Avoiding people, places that remind you of your traumatic memories.
  • Having trouble remembering the traumatic events blocking them out or burying them hoping they will go away.
  • Feeling detached from others like you are from a different planet or don't belong
  • Feeling that others don't understand your fears & anxiety.
  • Having difficulty feeling loving towards others.

You could have some but not all of these symptoms and still have PTSD, the main point to understand is that having PTSD does not have to ruin your life. It's not a disease or permanent condition that you are stuck with for life it is just the way your subconscious mind is currently dealing with your traumas to keep you safe. There are many therapies that can help ease your symptoms without having to commit to life-long medication.

What happens with PTSD is that your "amygdala" which is located deep within your brain, sends out flight or fight signals to your autonomic nervous system when activated by your triggers. This results in surges of adrenaline, nor-adrenaline and cortisol flooding your body producing your fears and anxiety. These chemicals affect your system for up to 20 minutes, resulting in an agitated, fearful state.
Your triggers are caused by everything that your subconscious mind connects to your traumatic event. I call it your "trauma capsule," i.e.

  • Sights (Maybe lights, dirt, blood, flying objects, equipment, etc)
  • Sounds (Sirens, explosions, screams, shouts, etc)
  • Smells (All your subconscious noticed at the time of the traumatic event)

This means that every time in the future that you hear, see or feel any of the different aspects in your own trauma capsule then you will experience some or all of your unique symptoms of PTSD.
The solution is to systematically neutralize all of the painful memories and feelings trapped inside your trauma capsule so that next time you are exposed to a trigger your amygdala will remain unaffected and you will stay calm.

This is why trying to ignore your traumatic event or trying to rationalize it often results in life long trauma.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andy Eckley PTSD trauma therapist, creator of PTSD clearing programs using "The Eckley Technique" offers FREE email support exclusively at A FREE online PTSD test is also available.
Andy Eckley's self-help PTSD toolkits start at only $50 USD
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