8 Surprising Facts About PTSD

Were you aware that even 6-year-old children can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

PTSD, short for post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health issue that anyone of us could experience at least once in our lives.

Although nobody is completely immune to PTSD, there are numerous ways to help and manage its symptoms.

Here are 8 revealing facts about PTSD.

There is no single type of trauma that leads to PTSD.

PTSD can be caused by 3 different types of trauma: acute, chronic, and complex trauma.

Acute trauma results from a single traumatic event, such as an accident.

Chronic trauma is caused by repeated or prolonged trauma, such as domestic abuse.

Complex trauma occurs when a person is exposed to various forms of traumatic events.

There are 17 symptoms of PTSD.

A person can be diagnosed with PTSD if certain symptoms persist for more than 1 month after a traumatic event.

Not all individuals will experience the same symptoms or even all 17 of them, but these are the most common and will assist doctors in making a diagnosis.

The 17 symptoms are categorized into 5 groups:

Stressor

Stressor symptoms represent the event that may have led a person to develop PTSD, such as witnessing trauma, direct exposure to trauma, learning that someone close to you has experienced trauma, or exposure to traumatic events through work.

Intrusion

Intrusion symptoms involve re-experiencing trauma, such as through flashbacks, nightmares, distressing memories, or triggers.

Changes in Mood & Thoughts

After a traumatic event, you may experience changes in mood and thoughts, such as blaming yourself for the trauma, difficulty feeling positive, feeling isolated, struggling to remember the traumatic event clearly, and negative feelings about yourself and the world in general.

Avoidance

Avoidance symptoms occur when a person tries to avoid remembering the event, talking about what happened, and how they are feeling.

Changes in Reactivity

Lastly, any signs of changes in reactivity such as heightened emotions, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, engaging in destructive behavior, and hyper-awareness can indicate PTSD.

7-37% of firefighters will develop PTSD.

Although it may seem surprising, such a high percentage of firefighters develop PTSD due to the traumatic nature of their jobs.

Firefighters are very likely to witness at least one traumatic event, sometimes more than one, during their firefighting careers.

This puts them in a high-risk category for developing PTSD, especially if multiple traumatic events occur.

A survey of firefighters with PTSD revealed that events involving helping children and scenes where victims were dead from non-natural causes were common causes of trauma.

Additionally, car accidents were cited as some of the most traumatic scenes for firefighters to work with.

9.2% of Canadians have PTSD.

Canada has the highest number of diagnosed cases of PTSD in a study of 24 countries, along with the United States, Australia, and the Netherlands.

Research indicates that wealthier countries and regions are more susceptible to PTSD due to higher expectations of safety, making it more challenging to come to terms with traumatic events. In contrast, Nigeria, China, and Romania have the lowest number of diagnosed cases. Shockingly, children as young as six years old can develop PTSD, as studies have found. The disorder can be diagnosed in children who have directly experienced a traumatic event, such as near-death, serious injury, or sexual violation. Although similar symptoms are seen in both adults and children, psychotherapy is the most common form of treatment for children. Women are more likely to experience PTSD than men, with double the number of diagnosed cases each year in the US. Sexual assault is one of the most common causes of PTSD in women. PTSD can develop in individuals who are repeatedly exposed to graphic details of a traumatic event, as well as those who learn about a close relative or friend’s traumatic experience. Furthermore, some individuals may show no signs of PTSD immediately after a traumatic event, but triggers can bring up past events and lead to the development of PTSD. PTSD is a recognized mental health condition that can be managed with the right diagnosis and treatment.

Offer Support to Your Loved Ones

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can happen to anyone, at any stage of their life. It’s important to be aware of this and to check in on your friends and family members regularly. They may be going through a difficult time and not fully understand what they are experiencing. By offering support and compassion, you can make a big difference in their recovery.

FAQ

1. What is PTSD?

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition that can develop after someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. This can include anything from combat to sexual assault to a natural disaster. Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of triggers, and changes in mood and behavior. It is important to seek professional help if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of PTSD.

2. Who can develop PTSD?

Anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event can develop PTSD. This includes military veterans, first responders, survivors of abuse, and those who have experienced a natural disaster. PTSD can affect people of all ages, genders, races, and backgrounds.

3. How is PTSD diagnosed?

PTSD is typically diagnosed by a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. The diagnostic process may involve a physical exam, psychological evaluation, and discussion of symptoms and experiences. It is important to be open and honest with your healthcare provider to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

4. Can PTSD be treated?

Yes, PTSD can be treated through a combination of therapy and medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a common form of therapy used to treat PTSD. This involves working with a therapist to change negative thought patterns and behaviors related to the traumatic event. Medications such as antidepressants may also be prescribed to help manage symptoms.

5. What can I do to support someone with PTSD?

If you know someone with PTSD, it is important to be understanding and supportive. Listen to them without judgment, offer to help with tasks when needed, and encourage them to seek professional help. Remember that recovery from PTSD is a process and may take time.

6. Can PTSD be prevented?

While it is not always possible to prevent PTSD, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk. This includes seeking immediate help after a traumatic event, practicing self-care and stress management techniques, and building a strong support system. It is also important for employers and organizations to provide resources and support for those who may be at risk for PTSD.

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