Posttraumatic Stress Disorder - Symptoms

The appearance of symptoms varies widely among individuals. In some cases, symptoms appear a few months after the event. In other cases, it may be years before symptoms occur. Sometimes symptoms fade away after a short period of time. In other cases, they last for many years. Some veterans of the Vietnam War, for example, spent decades living alone in rural areas trying to deal with their memories of the horrors of that war.

Among the most troubling symptoms of PTSD are flashbacks. A flashback is a sudden memory of an event that occurred months or years earlier. Flashbacks may be triggered by certain sights, sounds, smells, or feelings. A flashback may cause a person to lose touch with the real world for a short time. The person goes back in his or her mind to the traumatic event and lives it over again.

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