Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood, leaving those affected by it feeling utterly alone. Even those suffering from PTSD may believe certain myths about PTSD resulting in their not seeking help. Here are some common myths associated with PTSD according to the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Alliance:
PTSD Myth #1:
PTSD affects someone immediately after a traumatic ordeal. If time has passed, someone is no longer at risk for PTSD.
While symptoms for PTSD often arise within the first 3 months after a traumatic event, many times it takes months or even years for symptoms to appear. To make it even more confusing, some people experience symptoms rather continuously for years; but in others, symptoms may come and go through the years, such as in the case of victims of childhood abuse.
The nature of PTSD can make it very difficult for people to recognize PTSD in themselves. So much time may have passed that they do not associate their symptoms with trauma from their past.
In addition, victims of domestic violence often don’t recognize that prolonged experience of abuse from their partners increases their risk for PTSD.
PTSD Myth #2:
Only military veterans experience PTSD.
Although Posttraumatic Stress Disorder does indeed affect our war vets; the fact is, PTSD can develop in anyone, including children.
Research tells us that 70% of all Americans within their lifetime will experience some type of major traumatic event. Out of that group, about 20% will develop symptoms of PTSD.
In addition, 10% of all women develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder during their lifetime. It may be surprising to learn that women are two times as likely as men to suffer from PTSD. Women can be more susceptible to violence, including domestic violence, rape, and beatings.
Children who experience abuse, neglect, or molestation are also highly susceptible to PTSD sometime in their lifetime.
PTSD Myth #3:
Experiencing PTSD is a symptom of mental weakness; people should just “get over” traumatic events of life.
This is a common PTSD myth that can be difficult to combat. While the majority of people who go through a traumatic ordeal do go on to readjust to normal life after a period of time, not everyone can, and it has nothing to do with mental weakness.
Many other factors go into determining whether or not someone goes on to develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, including but not limited to:
- the type of trauma experienced
- the severity and longevity of the trauma
- personality traits
- how the brain releases chemicals to combat stress
- whether or not the individual experienced childhood trauma
- whether or not an individual has a strong social support system
For more information or to get help please visit the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Alliance