Many who suffer from PTSD exhibit PTSD Avoidance and Safety Behaviors. When an activity, place, thing, or situation makes you uncomfortable, a natural impulse is to avoid it altogether or escape from it as quickly as possible. When you have PTSD, behavior often changes as you try to avoid the triggers in your environment.
Common examples of avoidance behaviors for veterans with PTSD include:
- Staying away from malls, movie theaters, sports arenas, restaurants, and other crowded public spaces.
- Refusing to ride in the passenger seat.
- Shopping late at night to avoid people.
- Not answering the phone.
- Staying in your room.
It is also common to develop safety behaviors, which are rituals and habits intended to reduce distress. Safety behaviors may make you feel better, but they don’t actually make you any safer.
Common examples of safety behaviors for veterans with PTSD include:
- Always sitting with a wall at your back.
- Constant visual scanning for threats.
- Carrying a weapon.
- Checking locks on doors and windows repeatedly.
- Patrolling the perimeter of your home.