The psychological trauma of the Las Vegas tragedy will likely be great and experienced by not only those close in proximity to the crisis, but also many throughout the United States. It’s important for survivor’s families and friends to know if their loved one is suffering from PTSD.
The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, Inc. published a list of high-risk indicators for PTSD which includes “exposure to a severe event”, “extended exposure to danger”, and “physically injured by an event”—all of which were experienced by those who attended the Las Vegas concert.
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
While it is normal to have stress reactions such as negative emotions and changed behavior after a traumatic event, most people get better in time. A more severe problem could be at-hand if symptoms last longer than three months, cause a person great distress, or disrupts their home or work life. Post-traumatic stress disorder may cause physical or mental health concerns, and make it difficult to continue with normal daily activities.
The U.S. National Center for PTSD identifies four types of symptoms that indicate a person has post-traumatic stress disorder. If you notice the following signs in yourself or a loved one, professional help may be needed. You can contact Care Matters to speak with a licensed counselor by calling 248-691-9034 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Reliving the EventMemories of the traumatic event can come back at any time. You may feel the same fear and horror you did when the event took place. For example:
- You may have nightmares.
- You may feel like you are going through the event again. This is called a flashback.
- You may see, hear, or smell something that causes you to relive the event. This is called a trigger. News reports, seeing an accident, or hearing a car backfire are examples of triggers.
2. Avoiding Situations that Remind You of the EventYou may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You may even avoid talking or thinking about the event. For example:
- You may avoid crowds, because they feel dangerous.
- You may avoid driving if you were in a car accident or if your military convoy was bombed.
- If you were in an earthquake, you may avoid watching movies about earthquakes.
- You may avoid seeking help because it keeps you from having to think about the event.
3. Negative Changes in Beliefs and FeelingsThe way you think about yourself and others changes because of the trauma. This symptom has many aspects, including the following:
- You may not have positive or loving feelings toward other people and may stay away from relationships.
- You may forget about parts of the traumatic event or not be able to talk about them.
- You may think the world is completely dangerous, and no one can be trusted.
4. Feeling Keyed Up (Hyperarousal)You may be jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. You might suddenly become angry or irritable. This is known as hyperarousal. For example:
- You may have a hard time sleeping.
- You may have trouble concentrating.
- You may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.
- You might want to have your back to a wall in a restaurant or waiting room.