Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often associated with members of the military. In fact, it was first diagnosed in soldiers during World War I, identified as “shell shock.” However, among the more interesting facts about PTSD is the fact that many people suffer from PTSD not related to military service.
PTSD Causes and Symptoms
When someone experiences an event that is disturbing or life threatening, they may develop PTSD as a result. PTSD not related to military service can be caused by assault, an accident, an incident that results in an injury, or a natural disaster. An individual who has experienced ongoing traumatic events such as child or spousal abuse can also develop PTSD.
If a person suffers from these intense symptoms for more than a month after the incident, they may be diagnosed with PTSD:
- At least one symptom of “re-experiencing” the incident, including flashbacks, bad dreams, and frightening thoughts
- At least one symptom of avoidance, including avoiding places, objects, events, thoughts, or feelings related to the traumatic experience
- At least two symptoms of arousal and reactivity, including being easily startled, having difficulty sleeping, feeling tense, and outbursts of anger
- At least two symptoms of cognition and mood, including negative thoughts, difficulty remembering details of the traumatic experience, distorted feelings, and loss of interest.
Interesting Facts: Statistics
In the US, approximately eight million adults have PTSD each year. About 70% of adults experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, although that does not always result in a mental health issue. Those who do experience PTSD not related to military service include individuals who have experienced:
- Sexual assault: 49%
- Severe physical assault: 32%
- Serious accidents: 17%
- Shooting and stabbing: 15%
- The unexpected death of a loved one: 14%
- The life-threatening illness of a child: 10%
- Witnessing a violent act: 7%
- Natural disasters: 4%
Symptoms Can Take Years to Develop
One of the interesting facts about PTSD is that symptoms don’t appear right away in every person. In fact, it can take months or even years for the symptoms to become obvious and to interfere with an individual’s daily life. Each person is different and their reaction to the traumatic event or experience will be different.
PTSD Affects More Women Than Men
Even though, generally, fewer women are exposed to traumatic events, women tend to develop PTSD more often than men. About 10% of women develop the condition, compared with 4% of men. The reason may be rooted in the type of trauma women typically experience, including sexual abuse as an adult or as a child.
Men and women may also experience the symptoms differently. Women may tend to avoid situations, people, or places that trigger an uncomfortable feeling or thought. They can be edgier and have more difficultly managing the emotions that their memories or those triggers evoke. Men tend to become angry and may turn to drugs or alcohol more often, in an attempt to cope with their feelings.
An adult may develop PTSD as a result of a childhood trauma, including abuse. A child may also develop the condition while they are still young. Generally, childhood PTSD is a result of neglect or abuse and affects about 3-15% of girls and 1-6% of boys.
Traumatic Effects of COVID-19 and 9/11
PTSD not related to military service can result from witnessing or experiencing traumatic events such as the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These experiences have had a serious effect on many people’s mental health. The long-term effects of 9/11 on people across the country, and especially those in the immediate areas of impact, are still being seen today among the survivors and witnesses.
There is Help at South Miami Recovery
If you are experiencing the effects of a traumatic event in your life, you can find help for your PTSD and other mental health concerns at South Miami Recovery. If you have also developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol, our team is here to help you overcome your co-occurring conditions.
If you recognize the signs and symptoms of PTSD or addiction, please contact us for help. Our professional staff includes licensed mental health professionals and certified substance abuse therapists. We offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services as well as safe outpatient services during COVID-19 so you can get the help you need. To learn more, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.