Signs Appear Immediately Following The Trauma?

It is a common misconception that symptoms of PTSD appear instantly after trauma. In fact, this fallacy couldn't be farther from the truth.
Research to date tends to broadly say that symptoms will appear within 3 months of the injury. Don't confound that as, "I will have all symptoms to meet PTSD within 3 months." That's not what I'm saying, nor what present research discusses. This precise data is cited by the National Institute of Mental Health.
There is no single authoritative solution to when symptoms appear - traumatic stress disorder - or how many will show up and when. The most common opinion in the subject is that an individual may have one or more symptoms within 3 months. Think about it like this -- you may lose sleep instantaneously, have bad dreams. That's one symptom, and it would be natural to experience insomnia and nightmares after experiencing trauma. That subsides, and you may find that you just isolate yourself a month later -- another symptom. You may have a really difficult week at work, then burst at someone. It happened this some months after your wounding event, although you've never done that before after a tough week. This is another symptom.
All the preceding are single, isolated symptoms of PTSD. You'ren't experiencing those symptoms simultaneously. You experience them as isolated apparently dissonant, events. You may experience them simultaneously, yet they're still a mere three symptoms of many. This is what most research points to in relation to having symptoms within the first 3 months after your traumatic exposure.
Having PTSD without experiencing the symptoms required to meet with identification is not 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 carried the virus all week and were contagious, but how could you possibly understand? Maybe you felt a little sore throat as the week had some sniffles or wore on, but it's the right time of year to have seasonal allergies. It doesn't mean you didn't have a virus, only that you didn't match the telltale signals afterwards 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, spread out, for months or even years before realizing there's a serious problem going on. They lose their balance or become disoriented every now and again. If they are stumbling here and there or sometimes being forgetful does not set off any alarm bells, the same way that being nervous, of a certain age or on guard following trauma is a perfectly non-pathological response to recently experiencing trauma. It frequently takes more time, and definitely requires more symptoms before finding you have a continual problem, even if you do in fact have the disorder to be ticked off.
MyPTSD has polled this exact question for 9 years to further demonstrate the variability for when symptoms begin. Those who have replied, our member survey results, demonstrate that 31% experience symptoms in the first three months, with 49% taking longer than 12 months.
Our results show a considerably more comprehensive result set taken at the time of writing this article over 9 years. If MyPTSD made a single statement, as the NIMH and other sources state that is authoritative, then our perspective would be that the majority of folks take more than 12 months to experience symptoms.
This view aligns with resilience data (also cited by NIMH) that the majority of individuals exposed to trauma do not develop PTSD, let alone symptoms that would be viewed as a mental health condition. PTSD from just one event is much scarcer than PTSD from compounded traumatic events throughout life.
In a nutshell, the myth that PTSD appears following a traumatic event has little basis in reality. Sufferers can go years, even decades, without developing full blown PTSD. Build a community around themselves of encouraging, compassionate people that are both reliable and understanding and the best thing injury survivors can do is to get help as fast as possible. 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 honesty of others can serve as a check against irrational and uncharacteristic behavior -- an extra set of eyes to track the survivor for signs of an increasing difficulty. Furthermore, seeking a professional's help following trauma has benefits that are clear and manifold, whether to help mitigate developing symptoms with drugs or just serve as a guide to return to a steady, healthy lifestyle post-injury.