Research shows that individuals who suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder, better known as PTSD, have experienced severe trauma at some point in their lives. The trauma could come in the form of sexual assault, a natural disaster, a car accident or anything that would prompt someone to have a harrowing reaction.
However, many believe that PTSD is a mental health condition that affects only those who have come back home from war, but this is not the case.

PTSD affects 3.5 percent of the U.S. adult population, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or approximately 8 million Americans who live with the condition. Approximately 37% of people diagnosed with PTSD display serious symptoms.

The root cause of PTSD is a traumatic event, but the symptoms are what overwhelm people to the point where it is diagnosable. People with PTSD often have recurring, distressing and upsetting memories of the trauma, and continually have upsetting memories that are hard to stop.

Symptoms can include flashbacks, night sweats, insomnia, panic attacks, and isolating themselves from friends and family.

There are other disorders and mental health conditions that can appear along with PTSD, including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, borderline personality disorder and substance abuse.

Many who experience PTSD also may struggle with suicidal ideation and may attempt to take their life.

How to cope with trauma

PTSD is not necessarily preventable because individuals cannot control when trauma happens. However, they can be equipped to cope with the trauma afterward.

Causes of PTSD:

  • A stressful experience
  • Trauma
  • Mental illness
  • Predisposition to mental illness or family history of mental illness

Risk factors for PTSD:

  • Long-lasting trauma
  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Other childhood trauma
  • A job where you’re exposed to trauma, such as a military position
  • Lack of a sound support system
  • Seeing someone get hurt
  • A history of substance abuse.


Healing from trauma can be difficult, but it is possible. If you are experiencing PTSD, seek help. And if you know someone who is experiencing PTSD, encourage them to do the same.

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