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Who experiences Posttraumatic stress disorder? A common misconception is that PTSD is only relevant to military veterans. The truth is that anyone who experiences any traumatic event can experience PTSD. Research tells us that “70% of all Americans within their lifetime will experience some type of major traumatic event. Out of that group, about 20% will develop symptoms of PTSD.” This can include men, women, and children. Those exposed to abuse, neglect, domestic violence, and rape are especially susceptible to develop PTSD.
Since the 2013 revision, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is included in a new category in the DSM-5 called trauma and stress-related disorders. The criterion for PTSD includes exposure to a threatening event and four different following symptom clusters:
For a diagnosis of PTSD, symptoms must be present for more than one month and cause significant impairment in functioning. Many people experience these symptoms days after a traumatic event, however, for others, the symptoms don’t show up for up to three months.
It’s important to note that trauma is different for everyone, therefore, we must learn to operate from a trauma-informed perspective. Not everyone will respond the same to any given event or situation. People can experience trauma through direct exposure, witnessing the traumatic event, or even learning about the details of a traumatic event.
Currently, the most effective psychotherapeutic treatments for PTSD include:
Often times, patients respond better to psychotherapeutic treatment in combination with medication. Medication alone will not be sufficient in treating PTSD, however, it can ease the severity of some symptoms and aid in the process of psychotherapy.
For more information on PTSD, visit www.ptsdalliance.org