Anyone exposed to a highly traumatic situation with the potential to cause injury or death…
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Women
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a well-known but widely misunderstood behavioral health issue. It is often associated with war veterans, but trauma can be experienced in everyday life. From natural disasters to witnessing an act of violence to sustaining a severe injury, trauma can come from many sources.
Trauma also affects everyone a little differently. Two people can experience the same event, but one might develop PTSD and the other might not. Children tend to recover from trauma more easily than adults, and there are even differences in how men and women tend to react to trauma.
For this reason, women’s PTSD programs are growing in popularity. Women’s PTSD programs are uniquely tailored to the symptoms of PTSD shared among women, and they provide a safe space to be open and honest about experiences without fear of shame or ridicule.
Women’s PTSD Programs Recognize Unique Experiences
Although PTSD was first studied strictly in male combat veterans, psychologists soon discovered that women who experienced sexual assault had PTSD symptoms as well. Now, it is a recognized fact that women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.
According to the National Center for PTSD, there are a few reasons for this statistic. Chief among them are the likelihood of sexual assault victims being female, the strong tendency for sexual assault to cause PTSD more than other traumatic events, and women’s penchant for holding on to feelings of guilt, even when victimized.
In addition to sexual assault, there are other experiences that cause PTSD that are virtually unique to women. Lengthy and traumatic childbirth, for example, is now being recognized as another source of PTSD among women, especially if the mother faces a life-threatening complication.
How Women Experience PTSD
Women’s PTSD programs also zero in on the symptoms of PTSD more commonly experienced by women than men. For example, women are more likely to:
- Avoid areas that remind them of the trauma
- Be jumpy or jittery
- Blame themselves
- Feel emotionally numb
- Feel depressed
Compared to men, women are less likely to:
- Develop anger management problems
- Self-medicate with alcohol and drugs
The good news is that the prognosis for recovery from PTSD is generally good. With women’s PTSD programs on the rise, women can find a safe space to share their experiences and emotions. Although PTSD recovery may take some time, a willingness to address the trauma head-on makes a tremendous difference.