This Is Why PTSD Is Way More Widespread Than You Thought - BRIGID Magazine

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

This Is Why PTSD Is Way More Widespread Than You Thought

This is episode 2 in a very important series on PTSD from MedCircle. Clinical and forensic psychologist, Cheryl Arutt, talks about the underlying components behind PTSD, explains how it is more prevalent than most people think, and discusses some of the long-term consequences of living with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Most people think that PTSD is something that only soldiers get after returning from war, but war veterans only account for about 20 percent of all PTSD cases. The disorder affects two times as many women as men — most of whom are survivors of sexual violence.

Here are some highlights from episode 2:

"PTSD is something where your fight or flight system gets disconnected from the present, and you forget how to tell when you're safe."

"The kinds of things that create lasting post-traumatic symptoms tend to be traumas that are of human design. And what that means is that if you have a trauma like a plane crash, an earthquake, a tidal wave — something like that that is seen as kind of a natural disaster — number one, it doesn't feel like someone made a decision to do this to you; and number two, you tend to have others who went through it, too, with you. So there's more social support, you're not being blamed for causing the earthquake or the hurricane or whatever it was. ...

"But the kind of trauma that causes the worst trauma symptoms — both in men and women — is traumas where someone made a decision to hurt you. And this is sexual assault, sexual abuse, torture, being a victim of a violent crime — where someone has made a choice to hurt another human being. That tends to be the kind of thing that creates the biggest symptoms. And women, unfortunately, are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse and sexual trauma, which causes the highest rates of PTSD of all of the different kinds of traumas, because it's so personal and vulnerable."

Regarding what makes a person more prone to experiencing PTSD:

"People who have a past history of depression or anxiety, or if they've had prior traumas, it can make it worse, you can be more vulnerable. How the first person you tell about a trauma like sexual assault or sexual abuse responds to you is an enormous predictor of how much trauma you're going to have. ... It makes a big difference how people respond."

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