Friday, April 3, 2009

PTSD Healing: What are the Causes of PTSD?

So, now that we know the definition and stats of PTSD, you can see how incredibly large the PTSD pool is. And, I’ve received more than one email from professional mental health colleagues who suggest that PTSD is underdiagnosed, which means the numbers are below the actual amount and they grow every day.

To add to our understanding of the PTSD experience – and to learn even more about the large group to which we belong – it helps to be aware of the many causes of PTSD.

Of course, PTSD as we know it was originally applied to the military experience, but in fact, there are many traumatic events that cause the disorder. According to Sidran Foundation (one of our leading trauma organizations) the anxiety disorder PTSD appears in “Anyone who has been victimized or has witnessed a violent act, or who has been repeatedly exposed to life-threatening situations.”

This includes survivors of:

-Domestic or intimate partner violence

-Rape or sexual assault or abuse

-Physical assault such as mugging or carjacking

-Other random acts of violence such as those that take place in public, in schools, or in the workplace

-Children who are neglected or sexually, physically, or verbally abused, or adults who were abused as children

-Survivors of unexpected events in everyday life such as:

-Car accidents or fires

-Natural disasters, such as tornadoes or earthquakes

-Major catastrophic events such as a plane crash or terrorist act

-Disasters caused by human error, such as industrial accidents, medical mistakes

-Combat veterans or civilian victims of war

-Those diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or who have undergone invasive
medical procedures

-Professionals who respond to victims in trauma situations, such as, emergency medical service workers, police, firefighters, military, and search and rescue workers

- People who learn of the sudden unexpected death of a close friend or relative

This is only a partial list. Can you think of causes not listed here?


Time for you to dive in and learn some things. Two of the top sites for educating yourself about PTSD:

Sidran Institute

David Baldwin’s Trauma Page
(This is an award-winning site, but be careful; it is massive and easily overwhelming. Take your time. Go slowly.)

Discover some interesting new factoid about PTSD? Leave a comment or shoot me an email. The more we share our knowledge the quicker we all heal.

(Photo: Byabpryor)

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