Who Is This Quiz For?

The questions below relate to problems and complaints that people sometimes have in response to stressful life experiences. Please read each item carefully, and indicate how much you’ve been bothered by that problem in the past month.

If you are taking the quiz for someone else such as a husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, parent, or child, you should provide answers you think they’d supply. Ideally, you’ll have the loved one complete the test themselves and take the results to a doctor or licensed mental health professional.

How Accurate Is It?

This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by a licensed mental health provider or doctor.

Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns aren’t legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.

Your privacy is important to us. All results are completely anonymous.

Repeated, disturbing memories, thoughts, or images of a stressful experience from the past?
Feeling very upset when something reminded you of a stressful experience from the past?
Avoid activities or situations because they remind you of a stressful experience from the past?
Feeling distant or cut off from other people?
Feeling irritable or having angry outbursts?
Having difficulty concentrating?

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This interactive PTSD quiz is based upon the DSM-5 criteria for PTSD and has been structured in a manner to allow for a short and simple self-assessment. If you think you may have PTSD, Psycom strongly recommends that you seek help from a doctor in order to receive a proper diagnosis and support.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) FAQs

Who is at risk for PTSD?

People who have experienced or seen a physical or sexual assault, a disaster, an accident, or a terror attack are at risk for PTSD, as are soldiers who have experienced combat. In PTSD, the person continues to feel afraid or stressed even when no longer in danger. Typically, PTSD is related to an event or events involving “actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence,” says Thomas D. Harpley, PhD, a clinical psychologist in San Diego, California.

“The traumatic event may be directly experienced or witnessed in person as it occurred to someone else,” Harpley says. “Or PTSD can happen when you learn that a traumatic event occurred to a close family member or close friend. PTSD also can involve repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic events, like what happens with first responders or police officers.”

Does everyone who experiences or witnesses a traumatic event go on to develop PTSD?

Not everyone who experiences a dangerous or scary event goes on to develop PTSD. Resilience factors that decrease the likelihood that you will develop PTSD include having a coping strategy for getting through and learning from a traumatic event, seeking out support from loved ones and support groups, and being prepared to respond to upsetting events, in spite of feeling fear.1

When was PTSD first diagnosed?

The term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) first made an appearance in 1980 in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association. Since then, PTSD has become a household name.2

Even before 1980, though, mental health care professionals recognized the symptoms of PTSD as a particular disorder. “There were different names for it during World War 1 and World War 2,” says Thomas D. Harpley, PhD, a clinical psychologist in San Diego, California. “Back then, a person who had the symptom of PTSD, who typically was a soldier who had seen combat, may have been called ‘shell-shocked.’ ”

Who diagnoses PTSD, and what does getting diagnosed involve?

Mental health professionals like psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers are all qualified to make the diagnosis of PTSD, says Thomas D. Harpley, PhD, a clinical psychologist in San Diego, California. A primary care provider (PCP) also can make the diagnosis, he says. “Who makes the diagnosis may depend on your insurance,” Harpley says. “If you need a referral to see a specialist, you may see your PCP first and then get referred to a mental health professional.”

PTSD may be diagnosed with an interview that assesses various criteria, Harpley explains. “There are also psychological tests for PTSD that can help make the diagnosis, but it would be highly improper to reach a diagnosis based solely upon psychological test results,” he says.

How many people are diagnosed with PTSD?

It’s estimated that around 6.8% of Americans will have PTSD at some point in their lives. Women have about a 9.7% chance of getting PTSD. Men have about a 3.6% chance.3

Which factors differentiate the diagnosis of PTSD from the diagnosis of adjustment disorder?

PTSD falls under the category of “trauma- and stressor-related disorders,” explains Thomas D. Harpley, PhD, a clinical psychologist in San Diego, California, while an adjustment disorder is an anxiety disorder. An adjustment disorder may involve depression, anxiety, and disturbances of emotions, he says. Typically, an adjustment disorder is not trauma-related, he says.

The symptoms of an adjustment disorder must occur within three months of a stressful life event or change, and must not be due to another mental health disorder.4 “An adjustment disorder doesn’t last longer than six months,” Harpley says. “If it lasts longer than that, by definition it is not an adjustment disorder and PTSD should be considered.”

What happens if PTSD is left untreated?

Sometimes the symptoms can dissipate, but in other cases, they can last for years, says Thomas D. Harpley, PhD, a clinical psychologist in San Diego, California. Since PTSD responds to medication and psychotherapy, it is important for a person to seek treatment.

What does it feel like to have PTSD?

The person can experience flashbacks in which they relive the traumatic event or events. This can cause symptoms like a racing heart or sweating. The person also can have reoccurring dreams or memories related to the event, upsetting thoughts, and feelings of irritability and anger. A person with PTSD can be easily startled, feel tense and “on edge,” have difficulty concentrating, falling asleep or staying asleep, and engage in risky, destructive, or reckless behavior.1

Other symptoms of PTSD include sadness, anger, and feeling withdrawn. “The person can feel detached or disconnected from themselves or from the world,” says Thomas D. Harpley, PhD, a clinical psychologist in San Diego, California.

Is PTSD a permanent disability?

It can be, says Thomas D. Harpley, PhD, a clinical psychologist in San Diego, California. “Even with treatment, PTSD can last for years and be very disabling,” he says.

How long PTSD lasts varies by person. Some people get better within six months but the symptoms in other people can last for years. And people who have PTSD can have other mental health conditions as well, like depression, substance abuse, or an anxiety disorder.1

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Last Updated: Jul 19, 2021