Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder brought on by a traumatic event and which continues with symptoms of re-experiencing the trauma, avoidance, numbing of the senses and hyper arousal. While most may readily associate PTSD with war veterans, the disorder can affect anyone with research studies showing that women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.
Research Results on PTSD
The American Psychological Association reported on a review of 25 years worth of PTSD research in their Psychological Bulletin. Results of the research showed that while men had a higher risk for being involved in a traumatic event, the numbers of those diagnosed with PTSD were significantly higher for women. PTSD may be diagnosed in women more often than men due to the differences between the sexes in their cognitive and emotional responses to a traumatic event – these differences in emotional responses are part of the diagnostic criteria for PTSD.
PTSD Presents Differently Between Sexes
Those men and women diagnosed with PTSD do not only show a difference in emotional responses; they also display a difference in the symptoms they report. A qualified mental health professional needs to be well informed and practiced with PTSD sufferers of both sexes for a proper and correct diagnosis. The National Center for PTSD reports some of these differences between the sexes are noted as:
- Women are more likely to have symptoms of numbing and avoidance
- Men more likely to have co-morbid substance abuse disorders
- Women are more likely to have co-morbid mood and anxiety disorders
- Men more likely to feel angry and have trouble controlling their anger
- Women more likely to feel depressed and anxious
- Men more commonly have problems with alcohol or drugs
- Women have more trouble feeling emotions and they tend to avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma
- Women with PTSD have less memory loss and a lesser degree of cognitive function than men
- Both men and women may develop problems with their physical health
PTSD Risk Factors for Women
One in ten women may develop PTSD after a traumatic event. Women are at a higher risk for being diagnosed with the disorder if they:
- Have a past mental health problem such as depression or anxiety
- Experienced a very severe or life-threatening traumatic event
- Were physically injured during the traumatic event
- They were sexually assaulted
- Experienced other stressful situations after the traumatic event
- Has limited to poor social support
Atlanta PTSD Support
Finding the correct treatment for PTSD begins with the correct diagnosis. Call the office of Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment.