PTSD Part 2: Causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
As people become more familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD), it is more important than ever to get treatment and find a good
support system. It is not quite the same as anxiety disorders like
generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder, which tend to be easier
With PTSD, people can range from someone who was a soldier in combat,
someone who witnessed a crime, to an
individual who faces something frightening to them as a child and who is
still struggling with it. These events can range from moderate to
severe, and still trigger the flashbacks and panic attacks that
In the last article, we discussed understanding PTSD: what is PTSD, why it is
sometimes missed, and How it is Different From Other Anxiety Disorders.
In this segment, we will discuss what can cause PTSD, determining if you
are at higher risk, and the types of events that can be considered
traumatic and possibly lead to PTSD.
Unlike many other forms of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder is
not something you will be born with. This has an actual cause, based on
an event or series of events you have gone through. As you have probably
guessed, it comes from experiencing a traumatic event. Keep in mind that
this might not seem traumatic to someone else, but it triggered the
anxiety disorder in you. It can be different for everyone.
Are You at a Higher Risk?
Before getting into the different events that might cause PTSD, letís go
over some risk factors. You should first know that absolutely anyone can
get post-traumatic stress disorder, regardless of your race, religion,
age, gender, or any other factors. This can happen to a small child,
adolescent, adult, or senior citizen. It is not more common for certain
genders or even people with particular backgrounds to suffer a PTSD
However, there are some risk factors that might make you a little more
susceptible to developing PTSD. For example, if you are someone who
already has other forms of anxiety, you might be at a higher risk for
getting post-traumatic stress disorder as compared to someone else who
went through a similar event.
Here are some other scenarios related to
traumatic events that can put you at a higher risk for PTSD:
You didnít get good emotional support
following the incident
You have gone through multiple traumatic
events, such as in a war or similar series of events
You experienced a lot of childhood trauma
You were a witness to someone else being
You have a history of substance abuse
What Can Be a Traumatic Event?
As we covered in a previous section, the traumatic event that triggers
post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms is not always a massive event.
People often think about someone who is caught in a house fire before
escaping or someone who went through combat as having PTSD. But this can
happen with many different types of events.
Here are some ideas of what a PTSD inducing traumatic event might entail:
Being in war-related scenarios such as
combat or even combat related support functions close to the
Having to defend yourself or another
person and end up killing your attacker
Witnessing innocent people around you
being killed or severely injured in that violent attack
Being in a car accident where a close
friend or relative was severely injured or killed
Having a severe accident in the workplace
Going through trauma during your
childhood or adolescence
Being a victim of domestic violence
Witnessing someone else who was a victim
of domestic violence
Being a victim of a robbery, whether
someone was harmed or not
Post-traumatic stress disorder is not always from being in combat, physical violence, or
even just the threat of physical violence. It is often emotional and stems from the
fear or hopelessness experienced during those traumatic events. In
the next article, we will discuss the common signs and symptoms of PTSD
as well as discussing PTSD attacks and flashbacks.
Other PTSD Articles in This Series: