People of all ages can have post-traumatic stress disorder. However, some factors may make you more likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic event, such as:
- Experiencing intense or long-lasting trauma
- Having experienced other trauma earlier in life, including childhood abuse or neglect
- Having a job that increases your risk of being exposed to traumatic events, such as military personnel and first responders
- Having other mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
- Lacking a good support system of family and friends
- Having biological (blood) relatives with mental health problems, including PTSD or depression
Kinds of traumatic events
The most common events leading to the development of PTSD include:
- Combat exposure
- Childhood neglect and physical abuse
- Sexual assault
- Physical attack
- Being threatened with a weapon
Many other traumatic events also can lead to PTSD, such as fire, natural disaster, mugging, robbery, car accident, plane crash, torture, kidnapping, life-threatening medical diagnosis, terrorist attack, and other extreme or life-threatening events.
April 15, 2014
- Posttraumatic stress disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Nov. 5, 2013.
- Highlights of changes from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/changes%20from%20dsm-iv-tr%20to%20dsm-5.pdf. Accessed Oct. 8, 2013.
- Stress disorders. Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric_disorders/anxiety_disorders/stress_disorders.html?qt=PTSD&alt=sh. Accessed Nov. 5, 2013.
- What is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? National Alliance on Mental Illness. http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=posttraumatic_stress_disorder. Accessed Nov. 5, 2013.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml. Accessed Nov. 5, 2013.
- Stein MB. Pharmacotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder. http//www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 5, 2013.
- Rothbaum BO. Psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder. http//www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 5, 2013.
- Helping a family member who has PTSD. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/helping-family-member.asp. Accessed Nov. 9, 2013.
- Lifestyle changes recommended for PTSD patients. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/coping-ptsd-lifestyle-changes.asp. Accessed Nov. 9, 2013.
- PTSD overview. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/fslist-ptsd-overview.asp. Accessed Nov. 9, 2013.
- Depression. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml. Accessed Nov. 14, 2013.
- Lineberry TW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 30, 2013.
- Posttraumatic stress disorder. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx. Accessed Jan. 8, 2014.