PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Causes, Statistics, Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects

What is PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)?

Understanding PTSD. As Posted By: Washington Post

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is classified as a severe anxiety disorder. It develops when a person is exposed to an extremely intense psychological trauma. The mental or emotional shock experienced can be due to almost anything. It can be caused by war events, a natural disaster or receiving news of a terminal disease. The person experiencing PTSD has reached a psychological level where he or she no longer has the ability to cope with the situation. The sufferer may go through flashbacks, nightmares, and panic attacks. They may also try vigorously to avoid situations, places or people that provoke memories or feelings of the related trauma. The individual going through the post-traumatic stress disorder may become numb to their feelings, angry, depressed, or hypervigilant, and they may also re-experience the trauma under many different circumstances and actually believe that they are back in the original situation.

This incredibly debilitating disorder is exceptionally complicated to live with. The person suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder can learn how to manage it. The resolution is continued behavioral and pharmacological therapy.  It is a hard and tricky journey toward healing, but assistance and care are available. The tools to help yourself manage the PTSD can be learned. It is imperative to identify the signs of PTSD because it can lead to treatment and aid the individual fighting post-traumatic stress disorder to manage the disorder and live a productive life.

Statistics on PTSD

An estimated 70 percent of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives and up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD [1]. Additional relevant statistics as they relate to post-traumatic stress disorder include:

  • An estimated 1 out of 10 women will get PTSD at some time in their lives. Women are about twice as likely as men to develop PTSD [1].
  • The Department of Health (1995) estimated that 91 million working days each year in the UK are lost through stress-related illness, at a cost to industry of £3700 million. In 2003–4, social and welfare costs of claims for incapacitation and severe disablement from severe stress and PTSD amounted to £103 million, which is £55 million more than was claimed 5 years previously. Therefore, PTSD presents an enormous economic burden on families, the national health services and society as a whole. [2].
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs has quietly released a new report on post-traumatic stress disorder, showing that since 9/11, nearly 30 percent of the 834,463 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans treated at V.A. hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with PTSD [3].

Causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post traumatic stress disorder is understood to be caused when someone experiences a trauma (views it or participates in it) that produces powerful feelings of fear, terror, vulnerability or horror. This can include observing a type of sexual, emotional, or physical abuse. Witnessing a multitude of other horrifying events such as an accident, physical assault, murder, sexual assault, war events or natural disasters can also lead to post traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, children can develop post traumatic stress disorder through being bullied, family violence or abuse.

PTSD Man Thinking at Window

Signs and Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Signs of PTSD may not appear right after a traumatic event. It may take several months for the signs of post traumatic stress disorder to become evident. There are a number of symptoms that may be experienced that can help determine if the sufferer needs to seek assistance. These indicators include but are not limited to the following:

  • Nightmares
  • Extremely aggressive reactions to loud noises or bangs
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Abusive
  • Avoids being in social situations

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Effects

The daunting task of living with post traumatic stress disorder can be debilitating. PTSD can have some serious negative side effects. A life without fear or extreme stress can be almost unimaginable. The harmful consequences of post traumatic stress disorder can and will affect all areas of your life. The physical, psychological, and social components of your existence will be greatly influenced. Some of the physical results include:

  • Potential alcohol and substance abuse
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Attempt suicide
  • Self-inflicted pain
  • It is believed that other medical problems can be developed due to PTSD, but studies are still ongoing

A few of the negative psychological effects consist of:

  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Nightmares
  • Difficulty feeling emotions
  • Guilt

Various unwanted social effects include:

  • Avoids social situations
  • Strained family relationships
  • Hard to maintain job
  • Becomes reclusive
  • Spousal abuse
  • Financial security can be lost

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment

The best treatment for PTSD is seeking professional help from a counselor or post traumatic stress disorder treatment center. They will be able to help you with the many different levels of care that may be required. Thus far, it appears that a combination of behavior therapy and pharmacological therapy has been most effective. With the correct resources and tools, most any issue can be worked through and your life can be reclaimed. Although the PTSD may be isolating you from your loved ones, it can be managed, and it can be overcome with a good PTSD treatment center. You can have your life back again.