A Few Key Facts About Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has received a fair amount of media and research attention lately, with the return of soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. But what is PTSD, and who can be affected by it?

Here are a few facts about the disorder:

  • PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that generally results from seeing or experiencing a traumatic or dangerous life event. People can also develop PTSD when a family member or friend experiences a traumatic event, or when a loved one dies unexpectedly.
  • People of all ages and from all walks of life can experience PTSD.
  • Groups of people who may experience PTSD include war veterans and survivors of assaults, domestic abuse, accidents, natural disasters, and other serious or dangerous events.
  • In a given year, about 3.5% of the adult population in the United States is suffering from PTSD.
  • About 6.8% of U.S. adults have experienced PTSD sometime in their lifetime.
  • Children with PTSD may have different symptoms than adults, such as bedwetting, being unusually clingy, not talking, and acting out the traumatic event in play.
  • Most people who experience trauma will not develop PTSD. Those more at risk include those who suffered physical injury, have a history of mental illness, have little social support, or have additional life stressors.
  • PTSD can be effectively treated, most commonly through psychotherapy and/or medication.

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