about Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
is a complex disorder that often is misunderstood. Not everyone
who experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD, but many
PTSD only affects war veterans.
FACT: Although PTSD does affect war veterans, PTSD
can affect anyone. Almost 70 percent of Americans will be
exposed to a traumatic event in their lifetime. Of those people,
up to 20 percent will go on to develop PTSD. An estimated
one out of 10 women will develop PTSD at sometime in their
of trauma related to physical and sexual assault face the
greatest risk of developing PTSD. Women are about twice as
likely to develop PTSD as men, perhaps because women are more
likely to experience trauma that involves these types of interpersonal
violence, including rape and severe beatings. Victims of domestic
violence and childhood abuse also are at tremendous risk for
People should be able to move on with their lives after a
traumatic event. Those who cant cope are weak.
FACT: Many people who experience an extremely traumatic
event go through an adjustment period following the experience.
Most of these people are able to return to leading a normal
life. However, the stress caused by trauma can affect all
aspects of a persons life, including mental, emotional
and physical well-being. Research suggests that prolonged
trauma may disrupt and alter brain chemistry. For some people,
a traumatic event changes their views about themselves and
the world around them. This may lead to the development of
People suffer from PTSD right after they experience a traumatic
FACT: PTSD symptoms usually develop within the first
three months after trauma but may not appear until months
or years have passed. These symptoms may continue for years
following the trauma or, in some cases, symptoms may subside
and reoccur later in life, which often is the case with victims
of childhood abuse.
people don't recognize that they have PTSD because they may
not associate their current symptoms with past trauma. In
domestic violence situations, the victim may not realize that
their prolonged, constant exposure to abuse puts them at risk.
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PTSD Alliance is supported by an unrestricted educational grant
from Pfizer Inc.