Just as the symptoms can vary greatly, the triggers of PTSD are often different for each person. They can include anything from a barking dog, to fireworks or passing the scene of a car accident.
If you believe that you may suffer from PTSD, it can be important to pay attention to things in the environment that may trigger acute feelings of PTSD. And if you don’t, chances are, your family will. Immediate family members of veterans with PTSD often start to show similar symptoms themselves.
It’s not that the family member has gone through a traumatic event. It’s that they recognize the triggers that affect the veteran. Their symptoms come from the fact that they are bracing themselves for how the veteran is going to react to the situation. Family members often try to lessen the impact of triggers by changing their own behavior. An example of this is when a spouse stands between the veteran and other people in a crowded room, or in the checkout line at the grocery store.