What are the 5 stages of PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has five stages, including:

  1. Emergency stage - during this stage, your anxiety levels may be extremely high, and you may find yourself having an intense reaction to everything. This is because your body's flight or flight system is kicking in.

  2. Numbing stage - during this stage, your body is trying to instinctively protect you from more emotional distress. You may feel like your emotions are totally shut off, making it difficult to deal with the trauma you experienced.

  3. Intrusive repetitive stage - during this stage, you may try to process your emotions, but will often experience flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety. For some, this is the most damaging stage of the illness, but recovery is possible.

  4. Transition stage - during this stage, you will begin your PTSD recovery journey. You will learn to understand and accept the trauma that happened to you, and start to heal.

  5. Integration stage - during this stage, you'll work through your recovery and learn to integrate your new coping skills into your daily life, so you can deal with any remaining symptoms as they arise.

How is PTSD treated?

Survivors and witnesses of traumatic events, such as combat veterans or victims of abuse, often struggle to overcome distressing flashbacks and anxious feelings. PTSD may develop as a result of these life-altering experiences.

The good news is that this condition is treatable. A frightening experience, such as a harrowing military operation, earthquake, tornado, automobile accident, abduction, rape, or any other near-death experience may trigger PTSD.

Whether an individual was personally impacted by an incident, saw someone else suffer, or saw a mass catastrophe, the tragedy can leave an enduring legacy. Recurrent memories, nightmares, persistent worried thoughts, and troubling sensations are all signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

They may also have flashbacks, which are out-of-body experiences that last anywhere from seconds to hours and in which the individual seems to relive the horrific incident. Intense anxiety and feelings of losing control may return, especially around anniversaries of the incident.

PTSD symptoms are often spontaneous, occurring for no apparent reason. When the symptoms are severe and persistent, the person is generally unable to lead a regular life and may not be able to recover without professional help. 

Think you might have PTSD?

Take our PTSD quiz to see if you may be suffering from a post-traumatic stress disorder.

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