If you find yourself struggling or not feeling yourself, it's natural to try to figure out what is going on. Sometimes these struggles show up after a trauma and you may be questioning if you may have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. I talk about PTSD as a disorder, here, but in this post I thought I'd include a brief self-screener as well.
The only way to know for sure if you do have PTSD is to meet with a mental health professional, preferably one with training in diagnostic evaluation and some familiarity with trauma-related problems and disorders. In the meantime, however, there are a few questions you can review on the Primary Care PTSD Checklist for DSM-5, or the PC-PTSD-5 screen. Please remember, the PC-PTSD-5 isn't a tool to diagnose PTSD, however a screen to see if PTSD may be likely.
Sometimes things happen to people that are unusually or especially frightening, horrible, or traumatic. For example:
- a serious accident or fire
- a physical or sexual assault or abuse
- an earthquake or flood
- a war
- seeing someone be killed or seriously injured
- having a loved one die through homicide or suicide
Have you ever experienced this kind of event? YES / NO
If no, screen total = 0. Please stop here.
If yes, please answer the questions below:
In the past month, have you ...
- had nightmares about the event(s) or thought about the event(s) when you did not want to? YES / NO
- tried hard not to think about the event(s) or went out of your way to avoid situations that reminded you of the event(s)? YES / NO
- been constantly on guard, watchful, or easily startled? YES / NO
- felt numb or detached from people, activities, or your surroundings? YES / NO
- felt guilty or unable to stop blaming yourself or others for the event(s) or any problems the event(s) may have caused? YES / NO
If you answer "yes" to any three items, you should talk to a mental health care provider to learn more about PTSD and PTSD treatment.
If you did answer "yes" to at least three of the items above, it's recommended that you be evaluated for PTSD. Based upon this assessment, you will then be able to discuss appropriate treatment options for you. If you didn't answer "yes" to at least three items, but you are still struggling with things related to past trauma, keep in mind trauma can affect you in many ways. Depression and anxiety are incredibly common (more common than PTSD) and are disruptive as well. A thorough assessment will help to flesh out where your symptoms fall and determine how you'd best be treated.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to me, here, if you are interested in a free 15-minute consult to see if coming in for further assessment is indicated. You don't have to keep suffering alone, help is available.