PTSD: the Causes

Today, millions of people aren’t even aware they have this disorder and millions more try to keep their pain to themselves afraid of what their friends and family will think. Afraid to give up their addictions and afraid to seek help.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the third most prevalent of all mental disorders following behind by substance use disorders and depression, according to the U.S. Government’s National Technical Information Service (NTIS). More than thirteen million Americans suffer from PTSD at any given moment and more than 70 percent of Americans experience a traumatic event sometime during their lifetime.

Trauma Numbers Incalculable

Most people would assume these staggering numbers are the result of our military involvement in numerous wars since the Vietnam War. To some extent this is true. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) added Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1980 after the end of the Vietnam War. During this time, doctors began recognizing that not only soldiers could develop the disorder, but millions of ordinary citizens can be affected. Such as people who have suffered a variety of natural disasters like hurricanes, fires, floods, earthquakes, and tornados. PTSD is the result of such violent acts as domestic violence, rape, and physical assaults. The events of September 11, 2001 added untold thousands of victims to these statistics. The number of victims continues to rise with every school and mass shooting. And the trauma numbers of people affected by gang or drive-by shootings on the streets of American cities are incalculable. 

PTSD and Illness

Often overlooked are the affects of PTSD on those suffering serious illness such as cancer, diabetes and Aids, and the effect of deaths have on surviving family members. Research shows that nearly 100 percent of parents with children being treated for cancer develop some degree of PTSD.

Heavy Toll on First Responders

Another startling statistic involves the more than six million traffic accidents on our nation’s streets and highways that cause nearly three million injuries or disabilities, and nearly forty thousand deaths every year. Nearly ten percent of people involved in these accidents develop PTSD. A study by the National Conference on Pediatric Trauma found that 40 percent of the children involved in these accidents continue to experience PTSD symptoms six months after the event. Further statistics show that police and firefighters and first responders who put themselves in harm’s way every day experience PTSD, four to six times the rate of the general public and our military.

National Epidemic

What we used to think of as a disorder resulting only from activities of war, that were given descriptions such as “shell shock” and “battle fatigue” and thought of as a weakness that causes warriors to feel ashamed, is now a national epidemic. Even military doctors and nurses serving in field hospitals suffer from PTSD.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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