If you have been through a traumatic event, you may find it hard to talk about your experiences. But, it can be helpful to tell your doctor or a counselor about any symptoms you have. Witnessing or going through a trauma can lead to both emotional and physical problems.
The checklist below can be a good start to talking about your symptoms following a trauma. You can print this page, complete the checklist, and show it to your doctor, therapist, or someone who can help you find care.
Sharing this information will help a health care provider know you better and plan the best treatment for you. Not everyone who goes through trauma will get PTSD, but keep in mind that good treatments are available even if you only have some PTSD symptoms.
Brief checklist of trauma symptoms
Check the symptoms below that you experience. Include symptoms you have even if you are not sure they are related to a traumatic event.
I experienced or witnessed a traumatic event during which I felt extreme fear, helplessness, or horror.
The event happened on (day/month/year) _______________.
What happened? ________________________________________.
I have symptoms of re-experiencing or reliving the traumatic event:
Have bad dreams or nightmares about the event or something similar to it
Behave or feel as if the event were happening all over again (this is known as having flashbacks)
Have a lot of strong or intense feelings when I am reminded of the event
Have a lot of physical sensations when I am reminded of the event (for example, my heart races or pounds, I sweat, find it hard to breathe, feel faint, feel like I'm going to lose control)
I have symptoms of avoiding reminders of the traumatic event:
Avoid thoughts, feelings, or talking about things that remind me of the event
Avoid people, places, or activities that remind me of the event
Have trouble remembering some important part of the event
I have noticed these symptoms since the event happened:
Have lost interest in, or just don't do, things that used to be important to me
Feel detached from people; find it hard to trust people
Feel emotionally "numb" or find it hard to have loving feelings even toward those who are emotionally close to me
Have a hard time falling or staying asleep
Am irritable and have problems with my anger
Have a hard time focusing or concentrating
Think I may not live very long and feel there's no point in planning for the future
Am jumpy and get startled or surprised easily
Am always "on guard"
I experience these medical or emotional problems:
Intestinal (bowel) problems
Gynecological (female) problems
Weight gain or loss
Pain, for example, in back, neck, or pelvic area
Skin rashes and other skin problems
Lack of energy; feel tired all the time
Alcohol, drug, or other substance use problems
Depression or feeling down
Anxiety or worry
Other symptoms such as: ______________________________
Summing it up
If you checked off some of the symptoms above, it is important for you to let your health care provider know. This information helps providers plan your medical treatment. It can also help them connect you with services you may need.
If you think you may have PTSD, print this checklist, fill it out, and take it to a health care provider, or someone you trust.
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