Trauma Awareness Month: Can You Spot the Signs of PTSD?
What Causes Trauma?
In some ways, trauma is an inevitable byproduct of the world we live in. It is unlikely individuals won’t face trauma at some point in their lives. In fact, 50% of women and 60% of men will be impacted by at least one traumatic event.
We know events are traumatic because they are oftentimes unexpected, terrifying, or overwhelming. Reactions to traumatic events range from “shock, anger, nervousness, fear, and even guilt”.
Of those individuals that experience traumatic events, some will, unfortunately, go on to develop the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Signs that someone is developing the disorder become more obvious as time goes on. If someone’s symptoms do not get better following a traumatic event, it is likely they’ve developed PTSD.
How Many Americans Are Affected By PTSD?
This is a disorder that affects a shocking number of Americans. It’s unfortunate that so many Americans are bearing the brunt of traumatic events without the help they need to combat it.
Around 8 million Americans are currently suffering from PTSD.
An estimated 30-80% of those that suffer sexual assault will develop PTSD. Of non-sexual assault sufferers, 23-29% will develop PTSD. Meanwhile, 30-40% of those that witness disasters and 25-33% of those that experience car crashes will also develop PTSD. These are not the only events that can trigger PTSD, however.
It is also not uncommon for individuals to develop PTSD through their line of work. This is most obvious with military personnel though also affects mental health counselors, police, and paramedics.
What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?
The symptoms of PTSD affect every aspect of an individual’s life. They can affect our mental, emotional, and physical health. They encompass memories, intense anxiety, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, avoidance, behavioral changes and shifts in mood and cognition. Behavioral changes can occur when individuals become triggered by unrelated events. The hyper-arousal associated with PTSD can manifest in the symptom of insomnia. Or, individuals can struggle with concentration.
PTSD can affect individuals of any age. Suffering from PTSD does not mean you’re weak. It merely means you are a human that currently needs extra help. Contacting a licensed professional to help you navigate the impacts of traumatic events can be imperative.