These warning signs often go unnoticed.
When events such as the Boston Marathon bombing, 9/11, or even theater shootings occur naturally the people impacted, both, directly and indirectly are left shaken. In particular, terrorist acts threaten our sense of security and make us hug our loved ones a little tighter.
Traumatic events like these can trigger post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD symptoms, a debilitating mental-health disorder. It not only affects the victims, but it affects their loved ones, first responders on the scene and the general public watching it all unfold on the television screen.
PTSD can also affect survivors of sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence and other more personal traumatic events.
So how do you know that your partner was severely impacted by a traumatic and terrifying event? Here are the telltale signs to watch for.
1. They suffer from flashbacks.
A typical symptom of PTSD is that the victim will relive the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time. Perhaps, they're haunted by nightmares that play over and over again like an endless reel in his/her mind.
2. Your partner is an insomniac.
Your significant other may have a hard time falling or staying asleep after a nightmare, but this kind of sleep deprivation will only weaken his/her already fragile state of mind, so try to encourage your partner to fall back to sleep.
3. They randomly lash out.
Everyday activities may cause drastic mood swings without prompting. Maybe your husband is easily frustrated by small mishaps or your wife is more controlling when she's usually laid back. Curbing this sudden change in mood in your significant other is very important since it can lead to more harmful behavior in the future.
4. They've lost interest in favorite pastimes.
Watch out for a sudden loss of interest or avoiding activities he/she once enjoyed. This may serve as an indicative of a deep depressive state and could lead to major problems down the road in your relationship.
5. They're always, always tense.
Living in a constant state of panic is very stressful for your significant other. Loud noises or even a car backfiring can set off a panic attack. Over time, this kind of anxiety can lead to health problems, which are sometimes irreversible.
These signs are normal (to some extent) right after a tragic event. However, if your loved one exhibits these signs for longer than a month, you should encourage him/her to speak with a health care professional. Seek treatment as soon as possible, just for some guidance and assurance before self diagnosing. Support groups are also a good idea, especially in the most extreme cases.