Facts about PTSD PTSD, also known as post-traumatic stress disorder, is a serious condition that affects millions of people throughout the world.. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America defines PTSD as follows: “A serious potentially debilitating condition that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a natural disaster, serious accident, terrorist incident, sudden death of a loved one, war, violent personal assault such as rape, or other life-threatening events.” To fully understand the seriousness of PTSD, you must first examine some of the many facts and figures associated with the condition. Here are three facts, again shared by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, that are worth noting:
- There are 7.7 million Americans, age 18 or older, who have this condition.
- 67 percent of people exposed to some type of mass violent act, such as war, will develop PTSD.
- PTSD has the ability to affect children, under the age of 18, in addition to adults.
Military Members and PTSD Anybody who experiences a serious accident or event could develop PTSD. However, this is most commonly tied to military members. For example, the United States Department of Defense notes that since 2003 roughly 90,000 military members who returned from Afghanistan or Iraq have been diagnosed with the condition. Furthermore, approximately 20 percent of those who have returned from Afghanistan or Iraq have reported PTSD symptoms or major depression. Unfortunately, only half of these people have received professional treatment.
Signs and Symptoms of PTSD
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) details the many signs and symptoms of PTSD, including the following:
- Re-experiencing symptoms, such as flashbacks and bad dreams
- Avoidance symptoms. These can include avoiding places or events that act as a reminder of the experience, feeling a sense of worry or depression, losing interest in activities, and feeling emotionally numb.
- Hyperarousal symptoms, such as feeling tense, being easily startled, mood swings (bouts of anger), and difficulty sleeping.
If a person has never experienced a serious accident or event, it may be hard for them to realize what this can do to someone’s emotional state. The facts above show that not only is PTSD common, but it can bring forth a variety of uncomfortable symptoms that can be a challenge to overcome. While many people go their entire life without facing this condition, others are not as fortunate. Here is one final fact shared by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:
“About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.”