It is possible for an individual to experience all or some of the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress. Where the individual does not meet the full diagnostic criteria of PTSD they can still be significantly affected by symptoms which some refer to as Subsyndromal or partial PTSD.  Anxiety, Depression or personality disorder may also be present alongside PTSD. Seek help from your G.P as soon as possible.  If you experience repeated and unexplained physiological symptoms such as lethargy, exhaustion, viral infection and chest pain; consider these may be signs of Post-Traumatic Stress if you have experienced trauma at some time.  


Compassion Fatigue or Secondary Traumatic Stress have parallel symptoms to PTSD. Exposure to regular accounts and details of victim trauma (for example; through investigations and taking statements) can result in these psychological injuries.   Given the nature of working frontline, people may be affected by Compassion Fatigue, Secondary Traumatic Stress, burnout, anxiety, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress and Complex PTSD


Physical symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress may include:-
  • Frequent headaches/migraine

  • Muscle aches

  • Lethargy/persistent tiredness or feelings of exhaustion

  • Onset of Asthma

  • Chest pain/tightness in the chest

  • Spasms/flinching or startling

  • Frequent stomach cramps

  • Excessive sleep or difficulty sleeping/ irregular sleep patterns

  • Loss of libido


Emotional symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress may include:-
  • Tearfulness

  • Persistent feelings of anger

  • Rage/outbursts of anger disproportionate to the situation

  • Feelings of intense hatred for someone

  • Feelings of anxiety, guilt, shame

  • Feeling you pose a real risk of harm to others

  • Feeling there is no escape from the situation

  • Feeling empty or numb


If you feel suicidal, believe you might hurt yourself or someone else - please call 999 or visit your nearest A&E. Non-emergencies contact 111 (NHS) for information on local Mental Health Crisis Team or Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 for support 365 days, 24hrs.  Northern Ireland call Lifeline 0808 808 8000 for 24/7 helpline, CALM (prevention of male suicide) 5pm - Midnight 0800 58 58 58 (Nationwide), 0808 802 58 58 (London)

Psychological symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress may include:-
  • Flashbacks, intrusive memories

  • Nightmares

  • Some degree of depression

  • Thoughts of suicide

  • Planning suicide

  • Worries about mental ill health

  • Worries about how others will see you, stigma around mental ill health and perceiving the self to be weak

  • Hyper-vigilance and alertness on and off duty

  • Constant scanning for threats on or off duty

  • Forgetfulness

  • Confusion

  • Distrust of others

  • Overwhelming despair


Behaviour associated with Post-Traumatic Stress may include:-
  • Frequent use of pain relief

  • Withdrawal from family and friends

  • Disinterestedness

  • Desire to be alone

  • Difficulty with social interactions

  • Difficulty with crowds

  • Avoidance of places, people, type of work/duty

  • High and/or frequent alcohol consumption or substance use

  • Hyper-vigilance on and off duty

  • Flinching/startling/jumping

  • Rapid escalation in anger or reacting with anger, disproportionate to the situation

  • Explosive anger

  • Agitated body language

  • Hard expression in the face/look of distance

  • Self-incarceration in the home to safeguard others and reduce risk of offending behaviour

  • Difficulty leaving the house without a trusted companion or partner

  • Quickly angered or agitated by the perceived pettiness of others moans, groans and squabbles

  • Impatience

  • Family breakdown/separation from partner

  • Isolation

  • Reluctance to drive or drive distances

  • Repeated checking of home security and car security (for example)

  • Self-harm

  • Self-destructive/reckless behaviour (including alcoholism, sexual promiscuity, seeking out dangerous activity)