Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Trauma Symptoms Test

Clinically Reviewed by Dr. Rob Gent, PhD, LPC

If you or your child, teen, or young adult is experiencing frequent nightmares, avoidance of specific places, people, or situations, or feeling constantly on edge or alert, they may be struggling with PTSD or trauma our test can help provide a pre-diagnostic step into possible signs and symptoms.  

Who is this PTSD and Trauma Test for? 

Our PTSD and trauma symptoms test is for teens and young adults or for parents who want to identify possible symptoms of PTSD in their child.

Traumatic events can vary widely, ranging from serious injuries and accidents to sexual assault and violence. It is important to remember that everyone responds differently to traumatic stress, and there is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel. However, if you find that the impact of a traumatic event is affecting your daily life and well-being, it may be beneficial to take our PTSD and trauma symptoms test.

How Do I Know If I Have PTSD or Trauma or if My Child Does?

If you or your child have experienced a traumatic event and are consistently experiencing symptoms such as nightmares, avoidance behavior, or extreme negative emotions it may be an indication of possible PTSD symptoms or symptoms of a traumatic experience.

It is important to remember that only a qualified mental health professional can make an official PTSD diagnosis. Our test can help parents and young people with a pre-diagnosis step that can help them when going to a specialist for an official diagnosis.

Identifying Signs and Symptoms of PTSD and Trauma

Common symptoms of PTSD and trauma in children, teens, and young adults can include:

  1. Flashbacks and Nightmares: Reliving a past traumatic event through intrusive memories or nightmares.
  2. Avoidance of Trauma-Related Reminders: Avoiding people, places, or activities that remind you or your child, teen, or young adult of a past traumatic event.
  3. Hyperarousal and Hypervigilance: Feeling constantly on edge, easily startled, or experiencing difficulty sleeping after experiencing a traumatic event.
  4. Negative Thoughts and Emotions: Feeling guilt, shame, or detachment and having negative thoughts about oneself or the world after experiencing a traumatic event.

“We often underestimate what it means for someone with PTSD to be in these moments of terror,” Gent said. “It’s a state of panic, fight or flight, of re-experiencing a moment where you didn’t know if you were going to be physically or emotionally OK. That’s terror. So, as a parent, can I sit with the power of terror and provide what they need — empathy and security.” 

Dr. Rob Gent

How Do PTSD and Trauma Symptoms Differ Among Age Groups?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma symptoms may manifest differently for children, teens, and young adults.

Here are some common symptoms of PTSD and trauma that may be present in different age groups that will increase after a specific traumatic event or events:

  • Children: Bedwetting, separation anxiety, regression in behavior, nightmares
  • Teens and Adolescents: emotional withdrawal, changes in academic performance, risky or out-of-control behavior
  • Young Adults: Flashbacks, intrusive thoughts or memories, avoidance of trauma-specific reminders, anxiety and depression

It is important to note that these symptoms can appear in different age groups, and children, teens, or young adults may show symptoms not listed above.

What is the Purpose of Our PTSD and Trauma Symptoms Test?

Our PTSD and trauma symptoms quiz is designed to provide teens, young adults, or parents who are concerned about their children with a preliminary understanding of possible symptoms that may indicate PTSD or trauma. It can serve as a valuable starting point for initiating conversations with healthcare professionals and seeking appropriate care.

When it comes to the accuracy of our PTSD and trauma symptoms quiz, it is important to understand that it is not a diagnostic tool and the test results should not be considered a diagnosis of any kind. A formal diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or trauma should only be made by a licensed mental health professional through a comprehensive evaluation.

The Importance of Early Detection and Diagnosis of Trauma and PTSD 

Early detection and diagnosis of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are crucial for several reasons. Identifying symptoms early on allows for timely intervention and access to appropriate treatment options, improving the individual’s overall well-being and quality of life.

Seeking professional help is essential, as PTSD and trauma symptoms can significantly impact daily functioning, relationships, and overall mental health. Mental health professionals, like psychologists and psychiatrists, can provide evidence-based interventions tailored to individual needs.

Types of PTSD and Trauma This Test May Identify

This test may identify symptoms common to the following types of PTSD and trauma:

PTSD and Trauma Symptoms Test

Our PTSD and trauma symptoms test may help teens, young adults, or parents who are wondering if they or their child may be experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or trauma.

For each of the questions in the PTSD and trauma quiz below, please choose a response based on how often it applies to you (if you’re a teenager or a young adult) or your child (if you’re the parent). The most honest responses will lead to the most accurate results. This test usually takes about five minutes. After you hit “Submit,” please scroll back down on the page for your results. 

*It’s important to note that teens and young adults should not use our PTSD and trauma test as a diagnostic tool. If you believe your adolescent, teen, or young adult is struggling with PTSD or trauma, seek an official assessment from a trained mental health professional. 

"*" indicates required fields

Do you have recurrent distressing memories of a past traumatic event?*
Do you experience frequent irritability or anger that seems disproportionate to the situation?*
Do you avoid specific places, activities or people that remind you of a past event?*
Do you have upsetting dreams or nightmares related to an event?*
Do you engage in self-destructive behaviors such as substance use, self-harm, or risky behavior?*
Do you try to avoid thinking or talking about a specific event?*
Do you get easily startled or frightened?*
Do you feel negative about yourself, others, or the world or feel hopeless about the future?*
Do you feel like you’re always on guard or on the lookout for danger?*
Do you have difficulty concentrating or sleeping?*
Do you feel detached from family and friends or emotionally numb?*
Do you have flashbacks where it feels like you’re reliving a traumatic event?*
By checking this box, you consent to Embark Behavioral Health using your personal information and sending you informational materials and updates related to your test results, PTSD and trauma, and the services provided by Embark Behavioral Health. You may unsubscribe from emails at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link. Your information will be handled in accordance with our privacy policy.*

Understanding Your PTSD and Trauma Symptoms Test Results

Understanding your PTSD and trauma symptoms test results can provide valuable insights into the severity of your symptoms and guide you towards appropriate evaluation and treatment options for you or your child, teen, or young adult.

The results of the test are based on a comprehensive evaluation of your reported symptoms, using standardized measures such as the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL). Based on your answers to the questions based on the PCL checklist there will be a score of possible symptoms associated with PTSD and trauma from a score of none to very little symptoms, mild symptoms, or a strong indication of symptoms.

How are PTSD and Trauma Diagnosed and Treated?

The diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma involve a comprehensive evaluation by a qualified mental health professional. This may include a clinical interview, assessment of symptoms, and consideration of a child, teen, or young adult’s personal history.

One of the first steps is to consult with a licensed mental health professional. They can provide a proper diagnosis based on the criteria outlined in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This will help determine the severity of a child, teen, or young adult’s symptoms and guide them toward the appropriate treatment plan.

Once a formal diagnosis is made, PTSD treatment can involve several types of therapy that can be effective, including:

These therapies aim to help children, teens, and young adults process their traumatic memories, develop coping strategies, and reduce the impact of PTSD symptoms on their daily lives.

Is PTSD Treatable Without Medication?

While medication can help manage certain symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as depression or anxiety, it is not the only treatment option available. PTSD can be treated without medication through various evidence-based psychotherapies and coping strategies.

In certain instances, medication may be prescribed to help manage PTSD symptoms. This can include antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, or other medications targeting specific symptoms. Collaborating closely with a healthcare provider is crucial to determine the most appropriate medication and dosage tailored to your needs.

What Happens if PTSD or Trauma Symptoms Go Untreated?

If post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or trauma symptoms go untreated, they can have profound and long-lasting effects on a child, teen, or young adult’s mental health and overall well-being.

Untreated PTSD or trauma symptoms can significantly impact various aspects of life, including relationships, work, or school performance. Young people may experience ongoing distress, emotional numbing, difficulty concentrating, and an increased risk of developing other mental health disorders, such as depression or substance abuse.

Untreated PTSD can also lead to self-destructive behaviors, including self-harm or substance misuse, as young people may attempt to cope with their distress in unhealthy ways. These behaviors can further exacerbate the negative consequences of PTSD.

How Can I Help My Child When They May Have PTSD or Trauma?

  1. Communicate and listen: Create a safe space for your loved one to share their experiences and emotions. Listen without judgment and validate their feelings, letting them know they are not alone.
  2. Educate yourself: Learn about PTSD and trauma to better understand the challenges your loved one is facing. The American Psychological Association and other reputable sources provide resources on PTSD. It can also be important to learn what not to do around a child, teen, or young adult with PTSD to help them overcome trauma.
  3. Encourage professional help when necessary: Encourage your child, teen, or young adult to seek professional help from a mental health provider experienced in treating trauma. Offer to accompany them to appointments or assist with finding appropriate resources.
  4. Be patient: Recovery from trauma takes time, and healing is not linear. Be patient with young people as they navigate the healing journey.
  5. Offer support: Be available to provide emotional support and reassurance. If your child, teen, or young adult feels comfortable, offer to accompany them to support groups or therapy sessions.
  6. Encourage self-care: Encourage young people to engage in self-care activities that promote their well-being, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or creative outlets.
  7. Utilize PTSD and Trauma Resources: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and organizations like the National Center for PTSD may offer support.

“Parents need to refrain from trying to ‘fix’ their children when they’re triggered and re-experience a traumatic event,” Gent said. “Instead, they should focus on ‘How do I get them back to a place of security, nurturance, and regulation?’”

DR. Rob Gent

PTSD and Trauma: Next Steps

If you or your child, teen, or young adult have taken our PTSD and trauma test and the results indicate possible symptoms of PTSD, it can be important to seek out an official diagnosis and treatment from a trained mental health professional. PTSD is a serious condition that can significantly impact a young person’s life, relationships, and overall well-being.

If you’re concerned that you or your child, teen, or young adult is showing symptoms of PTSD or trauma, contact us. We’ll walk you through each step of the healing journey.

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Embark Behavioral Health

Embark Behavioral Health

Embark Behavioral Health is a leading network of outpatient centers and residential programs offering premier mental health treatment for preteens, teens, and young adults. Dedicated to its big mission of reversing the trends of teen and young adult anxiety, depression, and suicide by 2028, Embark offers a robust continuum of care with different levels of service and programming; has a deep legacy of over 25 years serving youths; works with families to adjust treatment in real time to improve results; treats the entire family using an evidence-supported approach; and offers the highest levels of quality care and safety standards. For more information about Embark or its treatment programs, including virtual services, intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), therapeutic day treatment programs, also known as partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), residential treatment, and outdoor therapy, visit