Signs Appear Immediately After The Injury?
It's a standard misconception that symptoms of PTSD appear instantly after injury. In fact, this fallacy could not be farther from the truth.
Research to date tends to generally state that symptoms will appear within 3 months of the injury. Do not confound that as, "I 'll have all symptoms to meet PTSD within 3 months." That isn't what I'm saying, nor what current research discusses. This precise data is cited by the National Institute of Mental Health.
There's no single important solution to when symptoms appear or how many will show up and when. The most common sentiment in the field is that someone may have one or more symptoms within 3 months. Think about it like this -- you may lose sleep instantaneously, have terrible dreams. That's one symptom, and it'd be natural to experience insomnia and nightmares directly after experiencing trauma. That subsides, and you may find that you simply isolate yourself a month after -- another symptom. You may have a really hard week at work, then burst at someone. You have never done that after a tough week, but it happened this once, some months after your traumatic occasion. This is another symptom.
All the above are single, detached symptoms of PTSD. You aren't experiencing those symptoms simultaneously. You experience them as isolated, even seemingly dissonant, events. You may experience them concurrently, yet they're still a just three symptoms of many needed for a PTSD diagnosis. This is what most research points to in relation to having symptoms within the first 3 months after your stabbing exposure.
Without experiencing the symptoms required to match analysis having PTSD isn't all that different --on a smaller scale -- from how we experience viral infections. You experience the symptoms the subsequent weekend, incubate it for 5 days with no symptoms, and may get a virus from your child on a Sunday. You were infectious and carried the virus, but how could you possibly understand? Maybe you felt a bit of a sore throat as the week wore on or had some sniffles, but it's the correct time of year. It doesn't mean you didn't have a virus, only that you didn't satisfy the telltale hints subsequently get treatment and you would need to seek help.
On a bigger scale, how about sufferers of dementia? Many people with dementia experience several symptoms for months or even years before realizing there is a serious problem going on. They lose their balance or become disoriented every now and again. If they're of a particular age, stumbling here and there or occasionally being forgetful doesn't set off any alarm bells, the same way that being stressed or on guard following injury is an absolutely non-pathological response to lately experiencing injury. It often takes more time, and definitely requires more symptoms before finding you have a chronic issue, even if you do in fact already have the disease, to be ticked off.
MyPTSD has polled this precise question for 9 years to further demonstrate the variability for when symptoms begin. Our member survey results, those people who have replied, demonstrate that 31% experience symptoms in the first three months, with 49% taking longer than 12 months.
Our results demonstrate a considerably more comprehensive result set taken over 9 years at the time of writing this post. If a single statement was made by MyPTSD, as the NIMH and other sources state that is authoritative, then our perspective would be that nearly all people take longer than 12 months to experience symptoms.
This perspective aligns with resilience data (also cited by NIMH) that most individuals exposed to trauma do not develop PTSD, let alone symptoms that would be viewed as a mental health condition. PTSD from a single occasion is much scarcer than PTSD from compounded stabbing events throughout life.
In summary, the myth that PTSD appears directly following a traumatic event has little basis in reality. Without developing full blown PTSD sufferers can go years, even decades. The best thing trauma survivors can do is to get help as quickly as feasible build a community around themselves of encouraging, compassionate individuals who are both honest and understanding. This foundation of support will function as a resiliency tool, and it can be priceless in helping those who experience trauma return to a sense of normalcy. The truthfulness of others, coupled with compassion, can function as a check against irrational and uncharacteristic behavior -- an extra set of eyes to track the survivor for indications of a problem that is growing. Additionally, seeking a professional's help following injury has benefits signs of ptsd that are manifold and clear, whether to help mitigate growing symptoms with medications or merely serve as a guide to return to a secure, healthy lifestyle post-trauma.