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How to know if youre experiencing PTSD or anxiety


If you frequently suffer from feelings of chronic worry, nightmares, moments of panic or nervousness, it’s likely you’re going through symptoms of anxiety. However, while it’s a serious and prevalent problem across society these days, there are a number of blurred lines that make it difficult to assess what form of the condition you’re going through. For instance, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a form of anxiety, which can lead to several other levels of the problem over a significant amount of time.


What is PTSD?


Most people are diagnosed with PTSD after experiencing some kind of life-threatening or traumatic moment. This usually happens after they have come to believe that their life is in danger in some way, shape or form. This then triggers PTSD symptoms, but while these are highly uncomfortable emotions, they don’t need to pose a life-threatening impact on your wellbeing. If you experience unwanted or excessive feelings of being in danger, this may be the result of PTSD. For example, many war veterans deal with this condition as a consequence of former battles and trauma. But these aren’t the only cases. Violence, abuse, rape, grief, death, assault and even natural disasters can all spark this form of anxiety.

What are the symptoms?


To understand whether you’re going through PTSD, it’s always recommended you seek professional guidance. However, there are some pointers that you can compare your situation against, to gain an understanding of whether you’re potentially undergoing the same symptoms. These include:

  • Continuous memories about the traumatic event or incident
  • Emotions of guilt and/or panic about the specific event
  • Challenges recalling the actual event
  • Issues communicating with others or feeling close to someone
  • Irritability and anger to the point that you feel you are unable to control these emotions
  • Wanting to suppress and avoid all unpleasant memories relating to the event, even if this means doing so at a significant cost
  • Difficulty keeping focused
  • Easily startled and constantly feeling ‘on guard’.

How is PTSD different from general anxiety?


Although PTSD is a form of anxiety, but other forms also exist. Other forms of anxiety can be just as severe as PTSD, and can manifest in many ways. Some forms include:

  • Generalised: Otherwise known as GAD, generalised anxiety disorder causes overly excessive worry and feelings of constant stress. If you experience this disorder, it’s likely you feel concern over a number of factors happening in your life.
  • Social: With this form, you’re likely to feel uneasy and panicked in social contexts. You may fear public speaking and prefer to live in isolation. In some cases, it can be difficult for you to seek employment or connections with others.
  • Panic disorder: Causing sudden panic attacks, these often seem unrelated to any authentic fear. Over time, though, these attacks can become worse, and the suffering becomes focused on the physical sensations of anxiety.
  • Phobias: A specific phobia is a fear of a certain experience or object. Some include blood, spiders, heights and animals (like dogs).
  • Obsessive compulsive: Known as OCD, this form of anxiety consists of those who obsess over the same thoughts repeatedly. They often try to easy these thoughts through certain behaviours that are considered compulsions. This might include washing your hands several times or opening and closing a door constantly.

Get the help you need


No matter which form of anxiety you feel you may be experiencing, it’s always vital that you seek specialised help with how you’re feeling. Left unattended, this disorder can often spiral into other forms, making it absolutely paramount that you try to get on top of it before this occurs. As always, speak to your GP if you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, and remember that there are plenty of resources out there to help you get through your challenges.