PTSD Statistics and Facts
About seven or eight out of every 100 people (7-8%) will have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives making the understanding of PTSD statistics and facts very important. Considering this significant figure, it is likely that you, or someone you know, will suffer from PTSD at some point. These facts and statistics on PTSD can help give you some insight on PTSD in North America and PTSD in the military (Effects of PTSD on Military Veterans).
Interesting Facts About PTSD
Many people go through trauma. In fact, it is estimated that 60% of men and 50% of women will experience at least one trauma in their lives. Only a small percentage of these people, however, will develop PTSD.
The facts about PTSD state that you are most likely to develop PTSD if you:
- Were directly exposed to the trauma as a victim or a witness
- Were seriously hurt during the event
- Went through a trauma that was long-lasting or very severe
- Believed that you or a family member were in danger
- Had a severe reaction during the event, such as crying, shaking, vomiting or feeling apart from your surroundings
- Felt helpless during the trauma and were not able to help yourself or a loved one
- Had an earlier life-threatening event or trauma, such as being abused as a child
- Have another mental health problem or have a family member with a mental health problem
- Have little support from family and friends
- Have recently lost a loved one or undergone a stressful life change, especially if it was not expected
- Drink a lot of alcohol
- Are a woman
- Are poorly educated
- Are younger
Statistics on PTSD
In addition to the above facts about PTSD, through study, we also know some PTSD statistics like:
- In any given year, about eight million adults will have PTSD.
- About 10% of women develop PTSD at some point in their lives (What Causes Some Women To Develop PTSD Symptoms?).
- About 4% of men develop PTSD at some point in their lives.
PTSD Military Statistics
It is not necessary to be in the military or to experience combat to have PTSD. However, veterans do have a higher rate of PTSD than that of the general population.
An interesting PTSD fact is that the statistics on PTSD in the military vary by service era.
- In Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, between 11-20% of veterans have PTSD in a given year.
- In the Gulf War (Desert Storm), about 12% of veterans have PTSD in a given year.
- About 30% of Viet Nam veterans have had PTSD in their lifetimes (Viet Nam Veterans Still Living with PTSD 40+ Years Later).
And while combat is a major cause of PTSD in the military, it is not the only one. Sexual assault or severe sexual harassment are also seen in the military (PTSD in Rape and Abuse Victims).
- 23% of female veterans who use Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare report sexual assault in the military.
- 55% of women and 38% of men who use VA healthcare report experiencing sexual harassment while in the military.
The Facts on Healing from PTSD
While sometimes the statistics on PTSD seem grim, most people do recover from PTSD.
- In patients receiving treatment for PTSD, the symptom duration is 36 months.
- In people with PTSD who are not receiving treatment, the symptoms last, on average, 64 months.
This is not to say that everyone is cured from PTSD, but most do recover fully.
Last Updated: 24 October 2018
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD