PTSD Caused By Many Types of Trauma
As a mental health advocate, author and speaker, I attend many events surrounding posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). All too often, I experience a conversation that goes like this:
“What do you do, exactly?” someone will ask.
“I help trauma survivors learn to cope with, manage and overcome symptoms of PTSD,” I reply.
“Ohhhhh,” their eyes light up. “You work with veterans!”
People often don't realize that the causes of PTSD result from many types of trauma.
PTSD Caused By Different Types of Trauma, Not Only Combat
I do work with veterans--and I really love giving back to those brave men and women who risk their lives to protect us. Recently, I was asked to design a three month coaching program for a veterans organization to help support their members struggling with symptoms of posttraumatic stress. I’m loving the challenge of meeting combat PTSD specific issues in ways that bring release and relief.
But veterans are not, as all too often the community seems to think, the only people who struggle with PTSD. I also work with survivors of many other types of trauma, too. While the media focuses its PTSD coverage on veterans, the fact is that posttraumatic stress disorder is not solely tied to the military.
Types of Trauma That Can Cause PTSD
The definition of PTSD encompasses symptoms that are the result of trauma, which comes in many forms, including:
- Domestic or intimate partner violence
- Rape or sexual assault or abuse
- Physical assault
- Random acts of violence
- Children who are neglected or sexually, physically, or verbally abused
- Car accidents or fires
- Natural disasters
- Major catastrophic events
- Disasters caused by human error
- Extreme medical experiences, including diagnosis of a life-threatening illness
- Professionals who respond to victims in trauma situations
- People who learn of the sudden unexpected death of a close friend or relative
PTSD Affects Many Americans, Regardless of Trauma Type
Just to give you a taste of the large pool of survivors with PTSD, check out these PTSD statistics:
70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. Up to 20% of these people go on to develop PTSD.
An estimated 8% of Americans have PTSD at any given time (and those of us in the field believe that’s an extremely conservative number).
An estimated 1 out of 10 women develops PTSD; women are about twice as likely to develop PTSD as men.
Among people who are victims of a severe traumatic experience 60-80% will develop PTSD.
The moral of the story here? If you’re struggling with the after-effects of any type of trauma, you may very well have PTSD; even if you do not have direct combat experience. PTSD comes from the psychological and physiological effects of trauma, not the type of trauma itself.
Rosenthal, M. (2012, August 29). PTSD Caused By Many Types of Trauma, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/traumaptsdblog/2012/08/ptsd-results-from-many-types-of-trauma
Author: Michele Rosenthal
Early Childhood Trauma (abandoned twice, 12 failed placements, 6 years of 'inhumane abuse maltreatment and a terminated adoption (isolation and starvation) no contact with humans, no elementary education at all, unbonded to any human beings
Adolescent Years (second adoption at age 12, alcoholic violent and sexually abusive father) i was revictimized by the WA State cath comm service therapists who 'denied' my brutal abuse from OK state, which at 12 yrs old, prompted my silence for many years.
Domestic Violence and Abusive Partners (15 yr stalker), until very recently, now at age 41.
Having experienced these different forms of trauma at each life phase, i have now developed severe PTED and BPD which has left me extremely overwhelmed and frustrated in my every day life.
although i do advocate daily for many nonprofits as well as blog and write for recovery for many different pages and websites.
you can find me and my twitter or facebook profiles and i am also blogging for healthy place, abuse journals, and ark of hope.
Then, if you have any questions at all feel free to let me know!
Thank you for pointing out the many forms of trauma that can result in PTSD. The mental health workers I encounter have a hard time accepting that I have some PTSD from my experiences in psychiatric hospitals. I was abruptly placed in one at a young age (12), and that was traumatic. Since then, I have had multiple hospitalizations and every time I reexperience the original trauma and behave like a person struggling with PTSD -- or a psychotic person. I don't mean to, I don't want to, I just lose control in a psychiatric hospital situation. I am in touch with reality but out of control of my actions. (Usually what gets me in the hospital is severe self-injury.)I guess this would come under your "extreme medical experiences" heading. Mental health workers should learn about this!
I left a sexually and emotionally abusive relationship over a year ago. Can it be that I have this condition? How can I really know?
You can find the PTSD test here: