Everything You Need To Know About Trauma and PTSD
Though it’s often associated with the horrors of war, post-traumatic stress disorder can affect anyone
April 24, 2023
All of us will encounter stress throughout our daily lives. When a strong emotional response to an extremely stressful or disturbing event impairs a person’s ability to cope, it’s often considered to be traumatic.
While trauma doesn’t always directly lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is beneficial for those who have witnessed or experienced trauma—as well as their loved ones—to know the signs and symptoms of PTSD, ways to treat it, and how to seek help.
Trauma can vary in severity and impact—in fact, approximately one in three people who experience severe trauma also experience PTSD.
Despite its more common association with soldiers returning from combat situations and the horrors of war, PTSD is a condition that can apply to anyone who has witnessed or experienced traumatic, life-threatening, or life-changing events.
According to the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD is a common condition affecting 10% of women and 4% of men at some point in their lives.
Keep Reading To Learn
- What PTSD and trauma are—and aren’t
- How to recognize if you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms
- How to successfully manage and treat PTSD
Who Can Experience PTSD? Anyone.
PTSD is a condition that affects people of all ages. No one is immune to trauma or how it affects the human brain. Depending on the person, PTSD may mean something different but be equally as impactful.
The experience of post-traumatic stress can vary depending on the trauma that the individual went through—even symptoms can vary between two people. In some cases, symptoms can appear nearly instantaneously. For others, it can take decades for symptoms to surface and be recognized. For many, there’s a delayed onset of symptoms, when the brain is no longer as preoccupied or the person has the opportunity to absorb what has happened.
There is no definitive answer to why some people who experience trauma develop PTSD and others do not. A combination of elements may cause the disorder or make individuals more susceptible to post-traumatic stress, such as:
- Exposure to trauma, including factors like the number of traumas experienced and the severity of those traumas
- Familial histories of anxiety and depression
- Emotional response (temperament)
- How your brain regulates the hormones and chemicals your body releases in response to traumatic events and stress
- Occupations like soldiers, nurses, doctors, EMTs, law enforcement, and firefighters expose some people to more trauma than other in jobs