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Symptoms of PTSD and women who have experienced a traumatic event are quite common. Half of all women report having experienced a traumatic event in their lifetime.  The kind of trauma experienced by women differs from that experienced by men.  Both men and women report suffering from the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, (avoidance behavior, the numbing of feelings, always being on alert or hyper-arousal, and the re-experiencing of the event).  However some of the symptoms are suffered more commonly among women.

The History of PTSD:

Studies of the men returning home from serving in Vietnam led to the early studies on PTSD.  So many of them had the same symptoms and were clearly suffering from the psychological effects of war.  When researchers began to observe the same symptoms and reactions from women who had suffered from sexual assault they realized that although these experiences differed from men in war, the psychological effects were the same.  Their sexual trauma led to PTSD.  This finding led to more research on women and trauma.

The Risk of Experiencing PTSD and Women:

Although women are less likely than men to have a traumatic event in their life, over half of women have at least one traumatic event in their lifetime.  These are the findings of an extensive national mental health research study.  Approximately one third of women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime.  This is the most common traumatic event among women along with childhood sexual abuse.  They are also more likely than men to be neglected or abused during their childhood years and more likely to experience domestic violence or live through the death of someone they love.

The Effects of PTSD and Women:

Depression sets in for many women and some may start to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.  Other women may end up with PTSD.  The statistics show that 10% of women but only 4% of men develop PTSD after a traumatic experience.  Some of the reasons why could be:

  • Sexual assaults are the main cause of trauma in women and are more likely to cause PTSD than other types of trauma.
  • Women have a tendency to think they are at fault in a sexual assault and blame themselves, which adds insult to injury and contributes to PTSD.

People are more likely to develop PTSD if:

  • The trauma they experienced was life-threatening or extremely severe
  • They reacted severely after the trauma occurred
  • They were predisposed to mental instability by having past mental health problems like anxiety or depression
  • They suffered an injury as a result of the event
  • They went on to experience other stressful events soon after the trauma
  • They do not have close family or social support

The Symptoms of PTSD and Women:

Being jumpy is very common among women who suffer from PTSD, along with a numbing of feelings.  Women also tend to avoid any reminders of the event, more so than men.  Men show more signs of anger and seem to have difficulties  controlling angermore than women.  Men seem to usealcohol and drugs whereas women are more likely to end up depressed and anxious.  Both genders tend to develop physical problems with their health as a result of PTSD.

Seeking Treatment for PTSD:

Women are more likely than men to seek treatment after experiencing trauma.  Women in general are used to sharing their feelings and are more comfortable doing this than men, so they might be more likely to seek treatment for PTSD.

PTSD and Women in Uniform:

Men in the military are faced with combat more than women, but more women than ever are exposed to combat in the military.  However many more women than men in the military are experiencing sexual assault and the fact that these assaults go unacknowledged and unpunished contributes to the traumatic injury.

Because our treatment center relies on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods.  The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from post traumatic stress disorder, depression and other mental health disorders.  In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in six peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.   Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  If you or a loved one is showing signs of PTSD or depression, you should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan that can result in recovery.  Treatment for PTSD and depression can be highly successful.  Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.