Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Little Known Facts

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Little Known Facts

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a well-known term, often associated with combat Veterans or survivors of sexual assault. However, the depth of understanding about PTSD often remains limited to a few common symptoms. Looking into the topic more deeply reveals lesser-known facts that can help Veterans understand how PTSD may affect their daily life.

When we think about the symptoms of PTSD, a lot of times we think about nightmares and flashbacks, or maybe panic attacks, but there’s a lot about PTSD that most people don’t know.

For example, while combat and sexual assault are certainly considered stressors that are sufficient to trigger PTSD, any traumatic event may cause symptoms of PTSD to appear. For example, a motor vehicle accident or witnessing a friend get hurt in a training accident can be traumatic events.

A PTSD stressor is a traumatic event (or series of events) in which an individual has been personally or indirectly exposed to actual or threatened

  • death
  • serious injury, or
  • sexual violence.

Little Known Facts about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Typical Symptoms and Reactions

A lot of people think of PTSD presenting with symptoms of primarily nightmares and flashbacks, but there are so many other ways it can present. Here are a few:

  • Avoidance – of things that remind one of the event,
  • Avoiding crowds,
  • Hypervigilance – always being on edge and ready to see a threat,
  • Angry or violent outbursts,
  • Feeling disconnected from other people, even those a Veteran loves most, like parents or a spouse, and
  • Substance abuse as a form of self-medication.

Sometimes, symptoms can be triggered years later by other events or life changes.

Physical Symptoms of PTSD

The American Psychiatric Institute notes that people with PTSD may also experience physical symptoms. These may include:

  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • fatigue
  • muscle tension
  • nausea
  • joint pain
  • headaches
  • back pain

Often, someone experiencing physical pain may not recognize it as being related to the traumatic event. However, the persistent discomfort of chronic pain may serve as a reminder of the traumatic experience, thereby making PTSD symptoms worse.

Individuals who develop both PTSD and chronic pain may also experience depression and possibly misuse substances (alcohol or drug) and prescription medications.

Studies have shown chronic PTSD elevates the risk of various health complications and reduces life expectancy.

Veterans are at Higher Risk of Developing PTSD

Veterans have a higher likelihood of experiencing PTSD than civilians. And Veterans who have been deployed to combat zones are at an increased risk of developing PTSD compared to those who have not been deployed.

Some statistics:

  • Approximately 7 out of every 100 Veterans (7%) will suffer from PTSD.
  • Among Veterans using VA healthcare, 23 out of every 100 (23%) were found to have had PTSD at some point in their lives
  • Of the 6 million Veterans served by the VA healthcare system in fiscal year 2021, about 10 out of every 100 men (10%) and 19 out of every 100 women (19%) were diagnosed with PTSD.

PTSD is more prevalent among female Veterans, affecting 13% as opposed to 6% of male Veterans.

MST Contributes to PTSD Among Veterans

A contributing factor to the higher prevalence of PTSD reported among Veterans receiving VA care is military sexual trauma (MST). PTSD ranks among the most frequent mental health diagnoses associated with MST.

Approximately 1 in 3 women Veterans and 1 in 50 male Veterans report experiencing MST when screened by their VA provider.

Millions of Americans Live With PTSD

Approximately 6% of the U.S. population will experience PTSD at some time in their lives.

In any given year, about 5% of the U.S. population lives with PTSD. A recent report indicates an estimated 13 million Americans are affected by PTSD.

Approximately 8% of women and 4% of men will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. This discrepancy is partly attributed to the types of traumatic events more commonly experienced by women, such as sexual assault, in contrast to men.

Research is ongoing regarding the experiences of transgender people and individuals who identify beyond the male-female binary.

Not Everyone Exposed to Traumatic Events Develops PTSD

Research indicates that most people recover from traumatic events and do not develop PTSD. However, some do not and go on to develop PTSD and PTSD-related symptoms.

Factors before and after a traumatic event can increase the likelihood of someone developing PTSD. Situations where PTSD risk escalates include:

  • The severity and violence of the traumatic incident.
  • A prolonged duration of trauma during the event.
  • Involvement in harm to oneself or the loss of a loved one
  • exposure to reminders of the traumatic event

People who endured adverse childhood experiences, particularly exposure to traumatic events, are more vulnerable later in life when exposed to additional traumatic events. Individuals with chronic medical or psychiatric conditions are also more likely to develop PTSD, as are women and younger people.

Veterans Can Receive VA Disability Benefits for PTSD

Veterans suffering from PTSD may qualify for VA disability benefits through a thorough evaluation process. This assessment considers various factors, including the severity of the PTSD symptoms and their impact on daily functioning.

Navigating the VA ranking system can be complex and overwhelming for Veterans, especially while coping with the challenges of PTSD. A lawyer experienced in handling VA disability claims can provide invaluable assistance by advocating for the Veteran’s rights, gathering supporting evidence, and presenting a compelling case to the VA. A lawyer can help Veterans secure the benefits they rightfully deserve for their service-related PTSD.

Contact Berry Law

If a Veteran is struggling with PTSD, we may be able to help. Call our legal team at 888-883-2483 or fill out our online contact form. We represent Veterans in all 50 states and our legal team is available 24/7.

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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