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What Does PTSD Feel Like?

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health condition where the body and brain are unable to recover after experiencing or witnessing something traumatic. It is normal to have difficulty coping with something traumatic, so it may be hard to tell the difference between normal coping and more serious PTSD.

What does PTSD feel like?


Flashbacks are intrusive thoughts that make you feel like you are reliving the traumatic experience that led to your PTSD. Flashbacks are often triggered by things like noises, sights, smells, etc. that remind you of the event, but sometimes can come out of nowhere.

PTSD flashback symptoms include the following:

Seeing images or visions of what happened in the initial event Feeling sensations or pain, often when there is nothing actually hurting you Reliving the emotions of the original event (often fear or distress) Increased heart rate Panic attacks Difficulty breathing


With hypervigilance, you never truly feel relaxed and are always on edge. You may seem jumpy or irritable.

Hypervigilance symptoms include the following: Being easily startled Irritability Irregular sleeping patterns Trouble concentrating


PTSD will make a person want to avoid anything that reminds them of the traumatic event in the hopes that they can avoid flashbacks or other symptoms.

Symptoms of avoidance include the following:

Avoiding places, people, or things Substance abuse Feelings of detachment or dissociation

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are sudden onsets of symptoms of fear and stress, accompanied by the following physical symptoms:

Heart palpitations Sweating Shaking Dizziness Nausea Trouble breathing Tingling hands


Similar to flashbacks, PTSD often brings on terrifying nightmares. This leads to many people with PTSD avoiding sleep in fear of these dreams.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors that contribute to the development of PTSD may include the following:

Stressful experiences and traumatic events Family history of PTSD or other mental health conditions History of abuse (especially childhood abuse) Substance abuse Personal history of depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions Personality and temperament The way your brain responds to stress.

Treatment for PTSD

PTSD can be an incredibly debilitating condition that makes it near impossible to carry out everyday activities. Fortunately, treatments both old and new may help you along your road to recovery. For decades, doctors have prescribed trusted treatments like antidepressants or psychotherapy, but innovative new options like ketamine may signal an optimistic new era of PTSD treatment.

Ketamine for PTSD

Ketamine was first approved by the FDA for use as an anesthetic, but in recent years has been shown to be a powerful, rapid-acting treatment for mood disorders like PTSD. Research speculates that ketamine plays a role in the treatment of mood disorders through its interaction with the neurotransmitter known as glutamate. Glutamate is a powerful neurotransmitter that mediates the body’s response to stress and traumatic memories.

To learn more about ketamine and its use as PTSD treatment, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.


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