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P.T.S.D. Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently   Asked   Questions About P.T.S.D.

What   is   the   incidence   of   P.T.S.D.?

An estimated 8% of Americans will experience P.T.S.D. in their lifetimes.
Approximatly 4% of US adults ages 18 to 54 have   P.T.S.D. in a given year.
Women are twice as likely to experience P.T.S.D. as men.
70   % of U.S. adults have experienced at least one type of traumatic event in their
lifetime – of those 70 % will develop P.T.S.D.

What are the risk factors for P.T.S.D.?

  • Having a prior diagnosis of anxiety, depression or other mental health issues.
  • Genetic predisposition – having biological relatives with P.T.S.D. or history of mental health issues.
  • Repeated traumatic events, also intense or long-lasting trauma.
  • Lack of an adequate support system.
  • Careers that lend themselves to repeat exposure – EMT, military, firefighter, police, etc.

How do people get P.T.S.D.?

In general, P.T.S.D. patients have had one of the following experiences:

  1. Threats of death or perceived threats of death.
  2. Directly experienced a truamtic event, such as sexual, physical or emotional abuse.
  3. Witnessing a truamatic event, seeing others suffer or die.
  4. Natural disasters (fire, flood, etc.).
  5. Military service, combat exposure.
  6. Unexpected loss of a loved one or multiple losses.
  7. Motor vehicle accidents are the #1 cause of P.T.S.D.
  8. Other situations that provide similar emotional intensity (kidnapping victim, religious  cults, etc.)

When was P.T.S.D. recognized as a specific disorder?

P.T.S.D. was first recognized in 1980.

How do I know if I have P.T.S.D.?

In order to be diagnosed with P.T.S.D. you must meet certain criteria. Only a health care professional can diagnose P.T.S.D. If your mental health is causing great distress in areas such as,
  • relationships
  • work
  • ability to socialize
  • enjoy past times

then you should seek out professional help.

What is the course of the disease?

P.T.S.D. is diagnosed if symptoms persist after 4 weeks from the perceived traumatic event. If symptos last longer than 3 months then the P.T.S.D. is considered chronic. Symptoms can occur 6 months or even years after the event, known as delayed onset P.T.S.D.

How does P.T.S.D. differ from other mental health issues?

Many mental health issues overlap with one another, sharing similar symptoms.

P.T.S.D. differs in these ways:

  • Anxiety disorders rarely have a triggering traumatic event.
  • While both OCD and P.T.S.D. share intrusive thoughts, the types of thoughts help distinguish the two.
  • With depression, the P.T.S.D. symptoms typically preclude the depressive episode.
  • Adjustment disorder is linked to exposure to an anxiety provoking experience but doesn’t meet the criteria of being outside the normal realm of a typical expected experience and is one that most adapt to with little or no long term effects.

In short, P.T.S.D. is distinguished by a person’s exposure to a traumatic event and their subsequent maladaptive response to the event, impacting global aspects of their lives. 

See also Welcome Letter by Dr. Turgeon, DO