PTSD is characterised by three main symptom clusters. These
are re-experiencing, avoidance,
and hyper-arousal symptom clusters.
Individuals with PTSD repeatedly relive the event in at least
one of the following ways:
People with PTSD try to avoid thoughts and feelings related to
the traumatic event. They find it extremely difficult at times, as
the traumatic images and memories intrude spontaneously.
Hyper-arousal symptoms cause problems with
relationships, especially problems generated by
irritability and anger. They include:
The other symptoms that are commonly associated with PTSD relate
to feelings of guilt, and difficulty relating to authority
Guilt can take two forms:
In many traumatic exposures, the individual may perceive that
the system or hierarchy has let them down, and therefore anger and
hostility can be a major factor in the presentation of PTSD.
It should be noted that the most common
co-morbid presentations with PTSD are depression and alcohol abuse
or dependence. Co-morbid illness needs to be addressed and
treated alongside PTSD.