Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Observing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the Classroom
Faculty may observe the following in students with post-traumatic stress disorder:
- May startle easily
- May react emotionally to discussions that trigger reminders of the trauma (e.g. low noises, descriptions of abuse or assault)
- May avoid activities that could trigger memories
- May exhibit hypervigilance
- May have difficulty with concentration
- National Institute of Mental Health
Related Functional Characteristics
Anxiety : Students with PTSD express anxiety most commonly as panic attacks, sensitivity to touch, hypervigilance, or irritability caused by a past traumatic event.
Fatigue (Cognitive) : Students with PTSD experience cognitive fatigue as a result of their hypervigilance, lack of ability to concentrate or side effects of medication.
Fatigue (Physical) : Students with PTSD may experience physical fatigue due to insomnia or poor sleep quality.
Restlessness (Physical) : Sitting still for long periods of time may be difficult for individuals with PTSD because of their hyperarousal (fight or flight stress response).
Sensory Distractibility : Students with PTSD often have the hypervigilant form of distractibility, so they must exert more effort to concentrate because they are also monitoring their environment for possible triggers.
Service Animal Needs : Students with PTSD have service animals to assist them through episodic anxiety attacks.
Touch Oversensitivity : Students with PTSD may be easily startled by unexpected touch due to hypervigilance, and may overreact to unexpected physical contact (e.g. being tapped on the shoulder).
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