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Not Everyone Develops PTSD After a Traumatic Event

A number of factors affect who is at risk for PTSD have been identified. It is important to understand what may increase risk for PTSD because the experience of traumatic events is quite common. Many people will experience a traumatic event at some point in their life. However, not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will eventually go on to develop PTSD. So, who might be more likely to develop PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event?

Researchers have been working hard on this question as it is an important one to answer. If you know who might be more likely to develop PTSD following a traumatic event, steps can be taken to treat the individual before the PTSD develops. These steps are called “prevention efforts” because they act to prevent or stop the development of PTSD and all that goes along with it such as relationship problems or substance abuse.

Researchers have done numerous studies in an attempt to identify certain characteristics of a person or a traumatic event that determine who does and does not eventually develop PTSD after a traumatic event. These characteristics are referred to as risk factors or risk for PTSD.

Potential Risk Factors for PTSD

In a review of 68 studies of PTSD, several risk factors were identified that have consistently been found to increase the likelihood of developing PTSD after a traumatic event:

  • The experience of another, past traumatic event.
  • The experience of psychological difficulties prior to experiencing the traumatic event.
  • Family history of psychological problems.
  • The extent with which there was a threat to life during the traumatic event.
  • The amount of support that people felt they had after experiencing the traumatic event.
  • The person’s emotional response (fear, helplessness, horror, guilt, and shame) at the time of the traumatic event.
  • Dissociation at the time of the traumatic event. Dissociation is a particular type of response to a stressful experience where a person may actually feel separated or cut-off from themselves and/or their surroundings. When in a “dissociative state,” someone may feel numb, lose track of time, feel as though they are floating outside of their body, or have no memories about a certain period of time.

There is some evidence that suggests the quicker PTSD is recognized and treated, the better the chances for a positive outcome. Fortunately, there is now an Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of severe anxiety disorders, including for people who are at risk for PTSD.   Because our treatment programs rely 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 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. It is also important to keep in mind that women and men often experience depression differently and therefore the presence of depression may also appear differently based on gender. If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, including PTSD, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan for depression that can result in recovery.  Treatment for depression and anxiety can be highly successful.  People who have completed our program have provide very high consumer satisfaction scores and reviewsCall us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.