Why Women Might Be at Greater Risk for PTSD

PTSD in WomenPost Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can develop after a distressing experience or witnessing life-threatening events. Examples of such events include natural disasters, serious accidents, combat, or physical or sexual assault, as either an adult or in childhood.

Events like these do not always lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but for those who do not return to the experience of life as they knew it before the event, the symptoms of PTSD can be paralyzing.

Symptoms of PTSD, which often co-occurs with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), include the following:

  • Re-experiencing. Commonly known as “flashbacks,” this symptom involves reliving the traumatic event. The flashbacks may present themselves as disturbing memories at unexpected moments, or they may be triggered by a reminder. This PTSD symptom can express itself both emotionally and physically.
  • Avoidance and numbing. Avoidance involves the way those with PTSD make efforts to avoid the traumatic event. They may try to avoid situations that trigger memories or the above-mentioned flashbacks. They may avoid people, sights, or smells that bring back the memories. Numbing involves avoiding emotions surrounding the event. People with PTSD may find it difficult to be in touch with their emotions after the event, and may even lose joy for events they once enjoyed that have nothing to do with the trauma. Sometimes this PTSD symptom even leads to the person forgetting important parts of the event.
  • Arousal symptoms. After the traumatic event, people with PTSD may feel on constant alert, causing trouble with sleeping, lack of focus, and even rages. They may also find that they are easily startled.

Are you or a loved one struggling with emotions that feel out of control? Have you been diagnosed with PTSD or Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)? No matter what type of treatment you need, Clearview Women’s Center can help. With residential, day, and outpatient programs, Clearview is proud to be one of the only treatment centers for women in the country that offers a complete continuum of care.

Clearview’s experienced intake counselors will help determine which treatment options is best for you. A team of experts will put together an individualized treatment plan focused on your specific needs. Call (866) 756-8819 now or complete the form below to get started on your path to recovery.


PTSD in Women vs. Men

Studies have shown that, although on average men experience more traumatic events than women, women are more than twice as likely to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than men (10 percent for women and 4 percent for men).

In an article on PTSD and women published by the American Psychological Association, David F. Tolin, Ph.D, of the Institute of Living, and Edna B. Foa, Ph.D, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, offer a theory that deals with the criteria for diagnosis of PTSD.

“PTSD may be diagnosed more in women in part because of the criteria used to define it. Cognitive and emotional responses to traumatic events make a diagnosis of PTSD more likely,” said Tolin and Foa. “So even though men may experience more traumas, they don’t seem to have the same emotional responses to traumatic events.”

Furthermore, Tolin and Foa found that women participants in a PTSD study were more likely than male participants to have experienced sexual assault and child sexual abuse, as opposed to accidents, nonsexual assaults, witness death or injury, or experience disaster and combat.

Sexual trauma, concluded the authors, may cause more emotional suffering and may be more likely than other types of trauma to contribute to a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis.

PTSD Treatment for Women

According to the National Center for PTSD, one in three women will experience a sexual assault in their lifetime. Due to the personal nature of this trauma, there are PTSD treatment centers that offer residential treatment for women only, providing a safe and nurturing place for women to recover from the symptoms of their PTSD.

Additionally, finding a treatment center with the capacity for treating co-occurring disorders is important, as often PTSD comes with co-occurring disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder, depression, eating disorders, social anxiety, and substance abuse.

The United States Department of Veterans website reports that people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder often have problems functioning and that, “in general, people with PTSD have more unemployment, divorce or separation, spouse abuse and chance of being fired than people without PTSD.”

With PTSD treatment and patience, recovery is out there. It is possible to take the power away from the PTSD and take back your life. During June’s PTSD Awareness Month, take time to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and research PTSD treatment options.

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  1. BPD and PTSD Statistics - 28. Jun, 2013

    […] for PTSD, although women are less likely to experience trauma than men, they are more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event (10 percent for women vs. 4 percent for […]

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