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Causes of PTSD

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How does PTSD develop as a result of trauma? What are the factors that influence whether or not you develop PTSD as a response to trauma? Answers to those questions in this article.

What Causes PTSD?

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) occurs in response to experiencing one or more traumatic events in your life. This can include recurring shocking events. Examples include assault or sexual abuse.

Other examples of traumatic events include:

  • A burglary or robbery
  • Terrorism and war violence
  • Natural disasters
  • Being bullied over a long period of time
  • Sudden death or prolonged suffering of a loved one

Sometimes it involves a moment in your life that you may not see or recognize as a trauma. This could be because you no longer think about the event or choose not to, or because you believe it wasn’t that significant.

 

Who develops PTSD?

Have you experienced a trauma? This does not necessarily lead to PTSD. Whether you develop PTSD depends on several factors:

  1. The nature of the shocking event
    Have you been admitted to hospital, experienced the death of a loved one, or been deployed to a war zone? Different traumas have different consequences in terms of the (severity of the) symptoms you experience.
  2. Single incident or complex trauma
    Was it a one-off event that caused your trauma? We’d call this single incident trauma. Or was it a recurring event, such as abuse or mistreatment? Are you experiencing ongoing or complex trauma? The duration of the events and the number of the events will affect whether or not you develop PTSD.
  3. Your individual resilience
    Everyone has their own emotional carry capacity and everyone processes events in their own way. This is partly hereditary, but your upbringing also plays a role. It determines what you are and aren’t able to process.
  4. Your support network
    Do you have people in your life you can trust, who make you feel supported and understood? Are you able to open up and talk about what happened? If you can speak to somebody, you’ll find it much easier to process trauma.

Genetics and gender: There seem to be certain genetic factors that determine how susceptible you are to developing PTSD after trauma. Women are also more likely to get PTSD than men.

 

Want to talk about PTSD?

Have you experienced trauma and are you concerned about developing post-traumatic stress disorder? Do you need someone to answer your questions, offer immediate help or just provide a listening ear? A psychologist can help you.

You can contact Nine if you are looking for help with psychological issues including trauma and PTSD.
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