Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Mental Health Center

Font Size

Assessing PTSD - Topic Overview

There is no medical test that can tell whether you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Your doctor will ask you questions to find out whether you have it, what traumatic event may have caused it, and how severe your symptoms are.

Your doctor may ask about:

Recommended Related to Mental Health

How to Stay Healthy, Happy, and Safe on the Road

In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask our experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics. In our July/August 2012 issue, we asked WebMD's mental health expert, Patricia Farrell, PhD, about diminishing road stress on long-distance car trips. Q:  I'm traveling cross-country this summer and anticipating long hours in the car. What can I do to stay safe and sane? A:  Driving long distance presents all sorts of potential hazards. The trick? Plan your trip carefully...

Read the How to Stay Healthy, Happy, and Safe on the Road article > >

  • The event that is causing your symptoms.
  • Traumatic events in your past, including those that happened when you were a child. These may include sexual assault or physical abuse.
  • Military service, especially if you have been in combat.
  • Symptoms you may have. These include reliving the event, avoiding things that make you think about the event, feeling numb, or always being alert to danger. Your doctor also will ask if these symptoms disrupt your life.
  • Any legal issues having to do with the traumatic event.
  • Any other mental or emotional health conditions you may have, such as depression.
  • Whether anyone in your family has had a mental health condition.
  • Whether you have any suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming others.

Your doctor may want your spouse, your partner, or a close family member to come with you. This person can help your doctor understand what you've been going through. Being with someone you trust helps you relax.

Your doctor may ask you to fill out questionnaires about your mental health. He or she may give you a physical exam and lab tests such as blood and urine tests. These can help rule out other things that could be causing your symptoms.

Problems that have symptoms similar to PTSD include:

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 09, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Hands breaking pencil in frustration
Quiz
Woman looking out window
Article
 
woman standing behind curtains
Article
Pet scan depression
Slideshow
 
Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
Article
Plate of half eaten cakes
Article
 
Phobias
Slideshow
mother kissing newborn
Slideshow
 
Woman multitasking
Article
thumbnail_tired_woman_yawning
Article
 
colored pencils
VIDEO
Woman relaxing with a dog
Feature
 

WebMD Special Sections