If you’re like most people, you probably associate PTSD with veterans. But people with military experience aren’t the only ones who get trauma-associated disorders. Other people are at risk too, and the reasons may surprise you. Let’s talk about who has the most risk factors for PTSD.
PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s when a traumatic event makes a salient imprint on a person’s memory. This causes them to have flashbacks, which may disrupt their daily life.
They may feel like they need to be “on guard” all the time, because their trauma makes them feel more vulnerable. They may be more irritable, or have trouble sleeping. These are all signs that a person’s trauma is continuing to affect them.
Traumatic events happen all the time. In 2017, the World Mental Health Survey found that over 70% of responders had gone through trauma. Despite (and sometimes because of) technological advances, life can be scary. Getting into a car wreck, an accident at work, or a confrontation with another person are all traumatic scenarios.
Yet most people work through these traumas without developing PTSD. The symptoms are exhausting and debilitating for people that end up developing it. The National Center for PTSD reports that about 6% of Americans will experience PTSD in their lifetimes. Yet 60% of men and 50% of women have traumatic experiences. What risk factors are causing some people to develop PTSD while others dont?
At KarmaDocs and KarmaTMS, we specialize in PTSD treatment. Many of our patients come to us needing a diagnosis after a traumatic event in their lives. Others have been living with their PTSD for years, and worry that they’ve exhausted all their treatment options. Wherever you are in your mental health journey, we’re here to support you.
Learning about your risk factors can help you understand your mental health. With deeper knowledge, you can make the best decision for your future.
But if trauma is so common, why doesn’t everyone have PTSD? What makes some people develop PTSD after an experience, while others don’t? Let’s talk about who is most at risk of developing PTSD.
People who are more at risk for PTSD fall into two broad categories. These are:
The distinction between these two groups is important. Certain lifestyles and jobs predispose people to traumatic situations. This makes PTSD more likely. Take firefighters, police, healthcare workers, and military personnel as examples. They are often in scenarios that are frightening or disturbing. Because of their jobs, these people are at higher risk of having trauma and may develop PTSD because of it.
But not everyone who experiences a traumatic situation develops PTSD. Most military workers don’t develop it. Although rates of PTSD are high among those who have served. This means that PTSD isn’t just a product of trauma; it’s a combination of our experience and our bodies’ interpretation of that trauma. Certain people are more predisposed to PTSD than their peers.
Let’s break down these groups further so we can be more clear about who carries the most PTSD risk.
Certain groups lead more traumatic lives. This may be because of their occupation. They may work long hours in high-stress environments. Or they may frequently be put into dangerous situations.
Check out these jobs that expose people to the most trauma:
Some people are exposed to trauma because of factors that are out of their control. Unlike occupational trauma, these people may be more likely to experience violence or abuse in their lives outside of work. They may have less financial control over their future, so they end up in dangerous situations.
People who lack resources and control are also at risk of experiencing trauma. Here are some examples:
Still, many of these people don’t develop PTSD after trauma. They may go through trauma, but be able to process it in a way that doesn’t have lasting effects on their mental health. Others will develop PTSD after the same situation, and suffer because of it. But of people who go through traumatic events, who is more at risk of developing PTSD? Let’s talk about it.
Research has found that specific factors may make certain people more predisposed to PTSD than others. Check out these risk factors:
When you combine risks related to trauma, and those linked to PTSD, a more clear picture appears. People who have the greatest risk are at a cross between these two categories.
We’re also starting to learn about genetic risk factors for PTSD. There’s growing research that shows that PTSD tends to run in generations of families. The reasons for this could be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Check back on our future articles for more on this fascinating and tragic phenomenon.
Yes. There are some things you can do that could boost your resiliency after trauma.
If you’re worried about your risk factors for PTSD, help is out there. Speaking about your trauma can feel so scary. The clinical mental health experts at KarmaDocs and KarmaTMS are here to support you in whatever way you need. We help patients with PTSD get their lives back. We use supportive therapy, medication management, and TMS therapy for treatment-resistant PTSD. Contact our staff for more information, or book an appointment on our home page.
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