Most of us may relate Post-traumatic stress disorder to our war veterans, firefighters or first responders who serve on the front lines. A diagnosis could also result from a traumatic event or life-threatening situation including car accidents, physical assault, verbal or physical abuse.
PTSD is a complex health issue that may affect both men and women during their lives with about eight million adults suffering from it during any given year. But did you know that women are twice as likely to develop this disorder, according to the government office on Women’s Health?
One in ten women may suffer from PTSD longer than men, with an average of (four years vs. one year), after diagnosis and treatment. Trauma is common in women with five out of ten suffering from an event.
For women, it often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed and many don’t realize they have the disorder. Women may also hesitate to seek treatment or wait years to receive mental health care. Not all women who go through a trauma suffer from PTSD but there are risk factors:
- Living through dangerous events and traumas as a child or adult
- Getting hurt
- Seeing another person hurt
- Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
- Having little or no social support after the event
- Having a history of mental illness or substance abuse
What is PTSD?
The (OWH) states that the disorder happens when people who have experienced or saw a traumatic event continue to have symptoms for more than a month that make it difficult for them to live their lives normally. It may not appear until months or even years later and may come and go over many years. The National Institute of Mental Health notes not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some people may develop it after a sudden, unexpected death of a loved one or witnessing harm to a family member or friend.
What are the symptoms and effects for women?
- Feeling depressed or anxious
- Be easily startled
- Have trouble feeling emotions or feel numb
- Difficulty with work, daily tasks or concentration
- Trouble sleeping
- Avoiding activities and things that remind them of whatever traumatic event they suffered through
Treatment and support
The first step is to discuss any symptoms with your doctor or mental health counselor. The effects of PTSD differ for each person so finding the right plan of treatment and support system that works for you is vital.
While in treatment remember to help yourself by engaging in mild physical activity or exercise to reduce stress, make healthy lifestyle choices and set realistic goals for yourself. It’s also important to stay connected with family and friends during the healing process.
Remember, with help and support you can make the road to recovery a smooth one.
The information on this site is intended to raise awareness and understanding of specific health issues. It should not be used for diagnosis or a substitute for health care by your physician.