How Can I Determine if I Have PTSD without a Professional?
Last Updated: 01/16/2021 at 9:33am
Stacey Kiger, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
My belief is that therapy is not about giving advice, but joining you on your journey
Top Rated Answers
The VA has a great program called the National Center for PTSD. You may find this page helpful: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/assessment/index.asp That said, if it seems you have symptoms of PTSD based on their information, it would be advantageous to seek counsel for it. Having had PTSD and needing help with it, it has made a big difference in my life to have that support and education.
It isn't safe to self-diagnose yourself with PTSD. However, I would reccomend you take an M3 test and bring the results to a psychiatrist. WHen this is done, tehy will ask you a series of questions that will lead to a speedy determination.
Self-diagnosing, also called self-dx, is often a bad idea and may mislead your thinking as you don't get an outside opinion. If you suspect you have a disorder, it's advised to seek some sort of help, preferably professional.
There are numerous symptoms of PTSD. These include general anxiety, increased startle, triggers to conditioned stimuli that are associated with the event, avoiding areas associated with the event, depression etc... To be diagnosed with PTSD a professional therapist would diagnose this disorder using the DSM. For example, if a veteran had returned from a war, loud sounds could cause increased startle such as a car back firing could remind them of a war zone. Sights, smells, noises that are associated with the traumatic event could trigger a response in the individual. If you suspect you have PTSD, a professional therapist in cognitive behavioural therapy could help.
Only a professional therapist can diagnose PTSD. PTSD symptoms can vary from one person to another, but in order for these symptoms to meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD: • Symptoms must be present for at least one month. • Symptoms aren’t caused by medication, substance use, or other illnesses. • Symptoms must be severe enough to create impairment in the person’s ability to function in several areas of their lives. • At least six months has passed since the trauma. According to the DSM-5, PTSD symptoms fall into four symptom clusters: 1. Intrusion symptoms – such as unwanted and involuntary thoughts, flashbacks, memories, and nightmares causing emotional distress and/or physical reactivity. 2. Avoidance – which involves avoiding trauma-related thoughts, feelings, and external triggers (e.g., people, places, things, or situations that act as reminders of the trauma). 3. Negative alterations in cognition and mood – such as negative thoughts and assumptions about oneself, others, and the world in general, and persistent negative moods. 4. Arousal – manifesting in a state of hypervigilance (always being “on guard”) and heightened startle reaction (very jumpy). In addition to these symptoms, an individual must also experience either a state of derealization (the experience of feeling detached and dissociated from your surroundings) or depersonalization (the experience of feeling detached and dissociated from oneself, as if you were an outside observer).
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