(Excerpt from The Endless Journey Home by Specialist Joe Collins)
Early Stages: The individual will begin to slowly start cutting himself or herself off from society. These symptoms can be shown by a lack of wanting to go out to social places that they used to find enjoyable. The individual may not show an interest in meeting new people or feels uncomfortable or alert if placed in a situation with a large crowd of unknown people. They might begin eating meals alone or may become workaholics, throwing themselves into materialistic things rather than people.
At this stage, the person usually begins to sever many social ties, only leaving those close members of family or closest friends who he/she trusts and feels enough comfort around to allow the relationship to last. Human interaction is an important part of emotional growth and recovery. Without it, the soldier will continue on a downward spiral.
Later Stages: Usually by this time the person is nearly crippled by other symptoms and often can be misdiagnosed as being depressed. By this stage the person has most likely completely cut him or herself off from society including friends and family and will most likely surround themselves only with materialistic things.
They usually will only go out on a required basis (to get food or medication). Often, to reach this level of isolation, the person is in a severe, deep stage of PTSD and needs immediate medical attention. Without it, things will only get worse if left untreated.
For additional information, please visit PTSD Symptom and Resources.