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Psychiatry & Psychotherapy Podcast

Jun 13, 2019

PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, occurs when someone experiences or subjectively experiences a near death or psychologically overwhelming event and then goes on to develop specific symptoms. Different types of trauma/stressors that can lead to PTSD include sexual violence, combat experience, medical conditions (e.g. myocardial infarction), and natural disasters (e.g. hurricane) (Chivers-Wilson, 2006; Edmondson et. al, 2012; Grieger et al., 2006; Hussain, Weisaeth & Heir, 2011).

It is characterized by:

Direct exposure or witnessing of trauma/stressor

Presence of intrusive symptoms post-traumatic experience

Avoidance of traumatic stimuli

Negative changes in mood and cognition


Hyperarousal (APA, 2013).

Here are a few stats about PTSD:

In 2017, over 47,000 Americans died by suicide (CDC, 2019). This number has been climbing about 1,000 new cases per year from 31,000 American deaths by suicide in 2000 (CDC, 2019). One contributor to this statistic are people with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), who are at increased risk of suicide (Wilcox, Storr & Breslau, 2009).

The lifetime prevalence of PTSD in the general population of the US was found to be 6.1% in one national epidemiologic study with certain populations at higher risk for PTSD (e.g. female sex, low socioeconomic status, previously married status, experienced trauma at a young age, African Americans, Native Americans, refugees or immigrants from countries with conflicts) (Alegría et al., 2013; Brewin, Andrews & Valentine, 2000; Goldstein et al., 2017; Kisely et al., 2017; Marshall, Schell, Elliott, Berthold & Chun, 2005).

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