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What Factors Affect PTSD Rates?

Alex Newth
Alex Newth

There are many factors that affect post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rates and, while some are controllable, others are not. If someone has poor coping abilities before a traumatic incident occurs, then this often leads to higher PTSD rates. Another large factor in determining PTSD rates is how close the sufferer is to the traumatic event. People who do not have a support network or refuse to seek treatment normally encounter higher PTSD rates. The type of trauma also can increase rates, because some incidents are likely more than others to result in PTSD.

People who have poor coping skills even before a traumatic event occurs are much more often the sufferers of PTSD after the event. These people also often have problems with self-esteem and self-doubt, and they may deny or refuse to talk about the experience because it is too difficult. While those who experience poor coping skills after the event may have higher PTSD rates, this is truer for people with poor coping pre-trauma.

The type of trauma involved in a factor in PTSD.
The type of trauma involved in a factor in PTSD.

Proximity to the traumatic event also has been shown to increase PTSD rates. Not all traumatic events occur directly to the sufferer. If someone near a person is attacked or affected by some traumatic event, then this also can cause PTSD in the other person. Those who are physically closer to the event often experience PTSD more than those farther away.

Victims of domestic abuse often experience PTSD.
Victims of domestic abuse often experience PTSD.

Support networks can help people recover from their stress disorder, in part by letting them know that other people care, and their willingness or refusal to seek support often affects PTSD rates. This support can come from friends and family or from a network of other people experiencing and trying to help each other with PTSD. If a sufferer is around people who tell him to brush off the problem, then this usually has the opposite effect and worsens the PTSD.

One of the largest factors that can affect PTSD rates is the traumatic event itself. There are many types of traumatic events, some violent and some very sad. For example, seeing someone murdered is a violent example, while a friend or family member dying from a disease is a sad example. Events that rarely cause PTSD are earthquakes and other natural disasters, being in proximity to someone dying or being hurt and being attacked by an unknown person. Sexually traumatic events, such as rape, and violent domestic abuse very commonly cause PTSD in both men and women.

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    • The type of trauma involved in a factor in PTSD.
      By: John Gomez
      The type of trauma involved in a factor in PTSD.
    • Victims of domestic abuse often experience PTSD.
      By: LoloStock
      Victims of domestic abuse often experience PTSD.