What are the common causes of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a wide-spread problem.
Close to 8 percent of Americans experience some form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in their lives. Most people relate post-traumatic stress to the military that have fought in combat. While this is very true, there are many other situations that can create post-traumatic stress disorder.
These statistics translate to one out of every six men and one out of every five women experience at least one trauma in their lives that leads them to have post-traumatic stress disorder.
It is important to define and understand post-traumatic stress disorder in order to understand why it is so common.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Defined
Post-traumatic stress disorder describes what develops in a person who has gone through a dangerous, shocking or scary event.
The event can be life-threatening, either to you or to someone else. You can develop PTSD whether the event taking place affects you directly or indirectly. Meaning, you can watch a dangerous event happen to someone else and still develop PTSD. The fact that you saw it creates a trauma within you.
Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares and having negative reactions to reminders of the event. Some people feel like they re-experience the event and that is when nightmares and flashbacks interfere with healing. Others lose interest in activities that were once enjoyed or they may be on edge, hyper-reactive or startled easily after a traumatic event.
If you have ever been in a major car accident, then you may have experienced PTSD. If you have ever experienced being robbed at gun point or witnessed the death of a friend or family member, then you may have experienced PTSD. Other examples include having been in the path of a tornado, an intruder entered your school and you became a hostage, part of a mass attack, home burglaries, carjacking, and even pet-related deaths depending on the incident. The ranges of traumas a person can experience are endless and individualized depending on your situation.
Some of the more common traumas are discussed below and include sexual violence, war combat, natural disasters and intimate partner violence, better known as domestic violence.
Sexual Violence and PTSD
Sexual abuse and violence comes in many different forms.
Types include sexual assault such as rape, child sexual abuse, sexual assault of boys and men, sexual violence from an intimate partner, incest and drug facilitated sexual assault or date rape. The key to all sexual assaults is that the sexual contact is not wanted and can be very damaging to the person being assaulted. Other sexual violence cases can include sexual harassment, stalking, prisoner rape and other violent acts committed against another.
Even though there are millions of sexual violence cases reported each year, the majority of sexual violence cases are not reported. The reasons people don’t report sexual violence is because they feel humiliated, shameful, or guilty. Many victims feel as if they are the ones at fault for the attack. Others feel fear of retaliation from their attacker. Whatever the reason, it is important to help victims feel safe enough to report the danger they are in and get the help they need.
Veterans and PTSD
Military fighting in combat put their lives at risk every single moment they are called to duty.
Even when they are eating lunch, if they are in a war zone, they could face danger or death. Because of this, mental health disorders can be high in number after returning to what is supposed to be a normal life after the war.
Research has shown that PTSD among combat veterans is around twenty percent. Other soldiers may experience depression, suicidal thoughts and other mental illness. Symptoms among returning veterans can include mood swings, drug and alcohol abuse, relationship problems, isolation and problems getting a job.
Veterans return to their old lives as changed people, even if the ones they return to have not changed.
The best thing you can do for a veteran who needs help with PTSD is to recognize that you cannot understand what they are going through but you can help them get support from those who do.
Natural Disasters and PTSD
Unless we have gone through a natural disaster then we really have no idea what it feels like to survive one.
Tornadoes, tsunamis, mud slides, wildfires and hurricanes are just a few of the events that can in one single day destroy lives, many lives all at once.
With natural disasters, people are dealing with loss on a massive level. Some are dealing with losing their homes. Some are dealing with the loss of their homes and their family members, while others are dealing with the loss of their homes, family members and whole towns.
Reports state there are six initial responses to a natural disaster including, fear, shock, confusion, inability to make decisions, desire to want information, help for themselves and for others.
The sooner the community and the country can unify during these times and address these six responses, the better for all who are involved and affected by the natural disaster.
Intimate Partner Violence and PTSD
Intimate partner violence takes place between two people who are involved in a close relationship. It has been reported that at least one in ten people in relationships experience this type of trauma. The numbers may be higher if more people understood their situation and felt safe enough to report the abuse.
If a person loves you, they will not call you names, humiliate you, put you down, embarrass you in front of others, or control who you talk to or who you hang around. This is not love. These are behaviors that are associated with domestic violence.
Victims with PTSD of domestic violence can be known to repeat the violence cycle of abuse in others. Because they don’t know how to cope with being abused or how to get out of the situation, they create a violent cycle without meaning to do so. Even people who witness domestic violence can experience PTSD. For example, a child who witnesses a parent being abused can develop post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you feel you’re suffering from one of these common causes of PTSD, there is hope.
Getting help for post-traumatic stress disorder is not as hard as you think it may be. There are many resources available. You just have to take the first step of seeking help. Tell someone you are interested in getting help. If you are not sure you have PTSD, seek out a professional who can help you figure out whether you do or do not have symptoms.
There are also many self-help procedures you can implement to help you deal with PTSD symptoms. These include exercising, connecting with others, and making healthy lifestyle changes.
The key is to do something, either reach out for help or start taking steps to help you. You do not have to suffer in silence. Once you begin to realize you are not alone in this journey, you can begin to heal.
Whether you start with seeking professional help, support groups, or within yourself, the great news is that you started. This means that you realize there is a great life for you after you learn to cope with the trauma you experienced. You deserve this great life!