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What Are the Signs of PTSD in Men?

Christina Edwards
Christina Edwards

The signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in men are typically the same as the signs of PTSD in women. PTSD sufferers will usually relive their traumatic experiences through a number of techniques. Many will also avoid any reminders of the event, and some may also develop other mental disorders, including anxiety and depression. Men suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are typically a little more likely than women to develop a substance abuse problem, such as alcoholism.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that can afflict people who experience a particularly terrifying experience. Causes of PTSD can include rape, murder, abuse, and war. Women, for instance, will sometimes develop signs of PTSD after being raped. PTSD in men is also common in many war veterans, especially those who have witnessed frightening acts of war.

One of the most common signs of PTSD in men is re-experiencing the traumatic events. A man may relive his experience a number of ways. He may have frightening nightmares, for instance, that may seem related or unrelated to the traumatic event.

Men experiencing PTSD commonly experience depression as well.
Men experiencing PTSD commonly experience depression as well.

PTSD in men can also cause them to have frightening memories when they are awake. These will sometimes seem very real, like he has been taken back in time to relive the event, and these memories are sometimes referred to as flashbacks. Startling memories will often be brought on by something that reminds a man of his traumatic experience. A man who suffers from PTSD after being in combat, for instance, may have flashbacks when he hears a loud bang. To him, this loud noise would not only be startling, but it may also remind him of gunshots that he heard while in combat.

PTSD sufferers often relive traumatic experiences.
PTSD sufferers often relive traumatic experiences.

Since certain things may remind a man of his traumatic experience, he may begin to avoid these triggers. Avoiding watching war movies is a common sign of PTSD in men who have been in active combat, for instance. Also, people who suffer from PTSD after a car accident may avoid the area where they crashed, or they may avoid cars altogether.

Anxiety is another common sign of PTSD in men. People who suffer from PTSD are often very jumpy and more nervous than others. They may always seem to be more alert than others, and they will also often have trouble concentrating and sleeping. Panic attacks are also quite common in men with PTSD.

Substance abuse, including alcohol and drug abuse, is also common among PTSD sufferers. They will sometimes use mind-altering substances to help numb themselves, and some mental health experts believe these people are self-medicating themselves. While women with PTSD are also at risk of developing a problem with alcohol, some studies have shown that PTSD in men is more likely to result in alcoholism.

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Discussion Comments


So often, men won't admit they have a problem and they won't agree to therapy. That's so sad. My family doctor had PTSD. My mom worked for him. He was a World War II vet. He had been a POW in a German camp, and stayed in the camp because he was the only doctor they had. He wasn't tortured -- because he was a doctor -- but he saw enough of it.

I know he could be very moody. Mom said she knew he had flashbacks. He had one in the office once when a patient was screaming in pain. She said he just went still and his face went pale. She thought he was going to faint and got him a chair. He had to go home for the afternoon. He ended up having dementia, which was actually a mercy. He remembered he was a doctor, but the war memories were gone.


A co-worker of mine had a husband who was in Vietnam. He was point man on a reconnaissance team. Obviously, he was always in the hot spots, which certainly could prompt hyper vigilance.

She said he wanted to build a house in the country, in the middle of their land, so they had no neighbors. They had a wooded area at the back of their lot and she said he would never sit with his back to that area -- or with his back to any door, for that matter.

He also had frequent nightmares. She said he got a lot better when he started going back to some reunions with his buddies. They convinced him to get counseling and she said it helped a lot.

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    • Men experiencing PTSD commonly experience depression as well.
      By: kmiragaya
      Men experiencing PTSD commonly experience depression as well.
    • PTSD sufferers often relive traumatic experiences.
      By: Burlingham
      PTSD sufferers often relive traumatic experiences.