Do I Have PTSD?
*The following article refers to PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), whereas at Stella, we use the term PTSI (Post-Traumatic Stress Injury). We encourage you to adopt this language to break the stigma against Post-Traumatic Stress. Read more about the shift from PTSD to PSTI here.
If you’re asking yourself, “Do I have PTSD?”, this is a great place to start. In this article, we answer the following questions:
- How does trauma affect the brain?
- What is PTSD?
- How common is PTSD?
We also share a free PTSD quiz and explain how to interpret the results to help evaluate each individual’s situation.
While only mental healthcare professionals can provide a diagnosis, we can help explain the symptoms we may be experiencing in response to a traumatic event or ongoing stressors.
How Does Trauma Affect the Brain?
Did you know that the body’s fight-or-flight response turns on after traumatic or high-stress experiences? Whether it’s once or many times, these experiences can cause a biological brain injury where the fight-or-flight response gets stuck in overdrive. And this overactivation can cause debilitating physical and psychological symptoms.
What Is PTSD?
PTSD is a term mental healthcare professionals use to describe the trouble we have recovering after a traumatic or stressful experience. PTSD has been referred to as a disorder, yet many claim it’s an injury. Stella and others have suggested a new term – Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PSTI) – in place of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)1.
Most say there are 17 different symptoms following trauma exposure, however, there are more. Some of the most common symptoms include anxiety, problems with memory, depression, and headaches.
How Common Is PTSD?
Trauma is a universal human truth. It may surprise you that 60% of men and 50% of women experience a trauma at least once in their lives.2 In fact, research suggests that only 2-11% of people experiencing trauma symptoms are actually diagnosed.3
Despite how pervasive trauma is, we may not know how to identify symptoms following a traumatic event or ongoing stressors.
We only learn that we have trauma symptoms after researching the issues being had since the traumatic or stressful experience, confiding in a friend, or seeking a professional’s help.
It’s estimated that 50% of people experiencing trauma symptoms do not seek treatment.4 Stella exists to change that. We’re ushering in breakthrough treatments that are fast, effective, and research-backed.
How Do I Know If I Have PTSD?
If you believe you’re experiencing symptoms, take this PTSD test online.
Stella uses an initial assessment tool known as the PCL. The PCL is a widely used self-report tool that helps gauge the severity of symptoms in response to trauma exposure.
The PCL lists 20 problems that people often experience in response to trauma exposure. For example, “Are you avoiding memories, thoughts, or feelings related to the stressful experience?” and “Are you having trouble falling or staying asleep?” After reading each problem carefully, you’ll indicate how much you’ve been bothered by it in the last month on a scale of “Not at all” to “Extremely.” We understand that answering these questions can be difficult, but you are not alone.
After the PCL is complete, we’ll email the score directly. PCL scores range from 0 to 80 where higher scores suggest that you perceive the symptoms you experience as more severe. A PCL-5 score of 31 or higher suggests that it may be helpful for you to consider whether you may benefit from the Stellate Ganglion Block, ketamine infusion therapy, or other treatments.
Please know that a PCL score is not a diagnosis and that we encourage you to seek a professional assessment.
If you already took the PTSD test and received a PCL score and want to learn more about treatment options, please contact Stella’s Patient Care Team directly by calling 1-866-497-9248 or emailing [email protected] to discuss your customized treatment plan.
- Itkowitz, C. (2021, October 28). Dropping the ‘D’ in PTSD is becoming the norm in Washington. The Washington Post. Retrieved February 2, 2022, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2015/06/30/dropping-the-d-in-ptsd-is-becoming-the-norm/
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2018, September 13). How Common is PTSD in Adults? U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved February 2, 2022, from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_adults.asp
- Ellen C. Meltzer, MD MSc,1 Tali Averbuch, MPP,1 Jeffrey H. Samet, MD MA MPH,1,5 Richard Saitz, MD MPH,1,3,4 Khelda Jabbar, MD,6 Christine Lloyd-Travaglini, MPH,7 and Jane M. Liebschutz, MD MPH1,5 Discrepancy in diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Treatment for the wrong reason https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3310322/
- Spoont, M, Arbisi, P., Fu, S., Greer, N., Kehle-Forbes, S., Meis, L., Rutks, R., & Wilt, T.J. (2013). Screening for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Primary Care: A Systematic Review [Internet]. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs (US). Available from: https://www.ncbi. nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK126691/ Spoont, et al., 2013.